The Balinese Hindu New Year and “Day of Silence,” known as Nyepi, takes place next weekend and some are campaigning for the island to shut off the internet for the day — in part to discourage people from taking selfies.
The Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), the country’s leading authority on Hinduism, is appealing to authorities to enforce telco providers to comply, meaning home broadband and 4G services would be suspended from 6am on March 17.
The group, which claims to assists in the revival of Hinduism in Indonesia, is calling on the country’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) to implement the shutdown, according to English language local media.
Some of Bali’s highest ranking officials have thrown their support behind the anti-internet appeal including the island’s governor and top police inspector.
The holiday is supposed to be a day dedicated to self reflection. People tend to stay inside, not use lights and refrain from doing any work.
The idea behind the proposed internet ban is to reportedly discourage too much selfie taking among tourists and residents who don’t adhere to the holiday, said PHDI Chariman I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana.
“Those who take selfies and want to upload them to social media, automatically could not,” he told Tribune Bali.
“(Therefore) we have asked that the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology stop internet service in the Bali area only during Nyepi.”
Similar calls were made last year, but internet and 4G services remained switched on.
The island’s major telecom providers have said they will comply with any decree issued by the government to suspend services but no official order has yet been issued.