Religious Council Bans PornographyA man accused of selling pornography at a roadside stand is arrested by the Brunei Royal Police
The Brunei Islamic Religious Council, backed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, has released a statement late last night that will effectively ban the buying and selling of all pornographic material, as well as items deemed "sexually inappropriate". At the stroke of midnight this morning, the Royal Brunei Police, along with members of conservative Islamic groups, raided roadside stands known for sales of pornography, locally known as Kedai Runcit
, and completely dismantled the stores. However, many of these areas are also popular hangouts for Brunei youth and up to 13 people that were in the area were arrested due to suspicion of being involved in the purchasing of pornography.
While there has been no response from official political or human rights watch groups, the youth of Brunei have already expressed their frustration over the new law - mainly over the Internet. Twitter and Facebook are the main medium from which the citizens of Brunei heard of the news, many claim that they did not hear of the new law taking place over the television but by tweets from friends. "There was no warning" said Abdul
, a university student at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali. He was drinking coffee with his friends at a stand near a Kedai Runcit
, "I had barely read a tweet about the new law from my friends and joked that we should get out of here when the police actually came and told us to scram." A small but vocal minority are speaking out against the government rather than being merely disappointed; a rare occurrence in a nation where nothing bad is ever said against the Sultan.