Mass campaign flags obscene 'Balinese' dance on YouTube

PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The first ever collective flagging campaign was undertaken on Wednesday to alert popular video sharing service YouTube on what the Balinese have deemed an offensive interpretation of their Joged traditional dance.

The campaign, which involved more than 80 representatives from universities and youth organisations in Denpasar, was triggered by a public uproar over female Joged dancers who performed movements simulating sexual acts with male audience members, often in front of children who were also watching the show.

"Joged is a social dance performed during community events as entertainment. It has been recognised by UNESCO as [an Intangible Cultural Heritage]. In its original and most widely performed form, it is a dynamic dance with flirtatious elements, but never vulgar or sexually explicit gestures," arts professor Made Bandem said.

The public uproar was further inflamed by the circulation of "Joged jaruh" (obscene) videos on YouTube, with one footage showing it had been watched 10 million times.

The performance was held at the main campus of information technology university STIMIK-STIKOM Bali. The university's representatives were briefed on the vulgarity of the Joged that had been performed before they were directed to report the YouTube channels that featured the videos.

"We expect to file at least 5,000 reports today. This is the first step of the campaign, and we expect to involve more people in the coming days, since anyone with a smartphone can participate," said Marlowe Makaradhwaja, who is organising the mass flagging campaign.

The campaign, he added, had two objectives: convincing YouTube to suspend the channels and educating the public on the authentic Joged dance.