Former Playboy editor turns campaigner

By Chi Liquicia

The Indonesian edition of Playboy Magazine that launched in 2006 was the only one in the world not to have a single nude spread.

Erwin Arnada, former Editor of Playboy in Indonesia (REUTERS)

Nonetheless, Editor Erwin Arnada was called a “moral terrorist” by the Islamic Defenders’ Front for publishing photographs of scantily clad women. And, in August 2010, he was sentenced to two years in prison for violating the country’s indecency laws.

This June an Indonesian high court overturned the conviction, a decision that was hailed as a victory for free speech in the world’s largest Muslim country.

But as 46-year old Arnada explains this week, his experience with Playboy has led him to start his own campaign for freedom of the press called “Journalism is not a Crime.”

“Journalists are threatened, kidnapped, attacked and even murdered for writing or informing people about the truth. This happens every month in Indonesia,” says Arnada in an in-depth interview with the Jakarta Globe, one of two major English language dailies in the country.

“My campaign has started out by establishing an institution to help monitor and defend journalists who have been victimized. We want to establish an affiliation with the American-based Committee to Protect Journalists.”

In the same interview Arnada talks about his Muslim upbringing, how a Nick Nolte movie inspired him to become a journalist and how he persuaded Hugh Hefner to start Playboy in Indonesia.

Straight to the Source