Fri, 03 Dec 1999

'RCTI' drops 'Syanghyang Dedari'

DENPASAR, Bali (JP): The private TV station, RCTI, has dropped the Balinese dance show, Sanghyang Dedari, from its Millennium Day Broadcast scheduled for the New Year's Eve program following a request from the local administration.

RCTI operations director Nenny Soemawinata told a media conference at the Governor's office on Thursday that the sacred dance, performed by two teenage girls in a trance on the shoulders of two men, would possibly offend Hindu followers.

Nenny said that RCTI held a closed meeting with officials, including the governor, the speaker of the provincial legislative council, head of the Ministry of Religious Affairs office and the head of the provincial information office, to discuss the issue.

"As this (show) touches on two sensitive issues, tradition and religion, we decided to drop the dance," Nenny said.

The Millennium Day Broadcast is a joint cultural program between RCTI and private TV stations from 44 countries.

"The problem is that the dance depicting purity and fertility is not performed at a special ceremony or ritual, but only for entertainment on TV. This evokes a negative response from the Balinese," said Ngurah Gde, head of the provincial information office.

RCTI could record Sanghyang Dedari when it is performed at a special ritual, the officials suggested.

Cultural observer Nyoman Gde Sugiharta said, however, that the ban was confusing. The Balinese and the provincial administration have no clear definition of sacred and profane cultural shows.

A religious song, Kidung Wargasari, was earlier used as an illustration of a romance scene on Nusa Penida, a film produced by the local administration. The Saigon Kick group had jumped down in front of a temple in its video clip. No one has protested. (zen)