April 21, 2006
Indonesia Playboy Weighs Future, First Issue on eBay
JAKARTA -- Indonesian Playboy's publishers are weighing whether to print again after violent protests over the first issue, now being offered on eBay as a collector's item.
The first issue on April 7 was a tame affair by the standards of the U.S. original, with less flesh visible than on many beaches, including those on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, or than in many magazines already for sale in the country.
Even so, the power of the Playboy name as the iconic symbol of relaxed Western attitudes toward sex drew strong opposition in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.
A demonstration last week at the building housing Playboy's offices turned violent. Protesters threw rocks and broke windows, bringing a decision by the publishers to move the operation elsewhere.
That protest and others created security concerns, spokesman Priambudhi said by phone on Friday.
"Playboy is considering safety and security for its staff. The consequence is no editorial activity now."
No decision had been made yet on whether and when another edition might appear, he said.
Police have said they wanted Playboy to hold off publishing again until they could investigate accusations it might have violated laws such as anti-pornography and indecency statutes.
"Playboy had a meeting with the police department ... the police have yet to give the result of the investigation," Priambudhi said.
Meanwhile, at least one seller was offering copies of the first edition over Web auctioneer eBay for a starting bid of $75. The issue's original price in Indonesian rupiah was equivalent to about $4 a copy.
"Since many of the issues were burned in protests, this copy is sure to be a collector's item in limited supply," the eBay posting said. So far, there are no bidders.
Indonesia has 220 million people, making it the world's fourth most populous country, and about 85 percent of them are Muslims.
Most are moderate, but there is an increasingly vocal militant minority. Some leaders of even middle-road Islamic groups and institutions take a much harder line on social issues than is common in the West.