The Head of the Tourism Office in Bali has called on local residents to stop posting videos of foreigners behaving badly on social media.
His request comes as top police officials warned the public that posting videos of other people committing crimes also puts the person who uploads in a precarious position in the eyes of Indonesian law.
The Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, has issued statements to the media calling on local people and visitors in Bali to use the proper channels to report any crimes of culturally disrespectful behavior.
This comes as welcome news to many tourists and long-term international visits to Bali who have started to feel like social media vigilantism on the island was becoming unsafe.
Pemayun also urged local residents in Bali to consider that the island needs to maintain its positive image as a world-class tourism destination.
He noted that the rise in viral videos of foreigners behaving badly puts the island at risk of losing its position as a safe, welcoming, and enjoyable travel destination for international tourists.
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Pemayun said, “If [we] want this tourism to continue, all parties must be able to maintain a positive image of Bali tourism, both nationally and internationally.”
He added that marketing of tourism on the island comes both as part of formal promotions by the tourism sector and also through social media with content generated by the general public.
Pemayun explained, “Promotion must be done by selling facts, not wishful thinking or made-up stories.”
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In a direct plea to local people, he said, “If you find tourists acting up, immediately report it to the authorities so they can act on it immediately. Avoid posting on social media.”
Some local people who have posted content of foreigners behaving badly claim that they posted online in order to gain the attention of the authorities.
Some local people fear that authorities may not follow up on reports of illegal or disrespectful behavior without the attention and pressure that comes with viral content.
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Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster reiterated the ways in which the public can report unruly behavior to the authorities during a press conference on Sunday evening.
The Governor said, “Bali residents are obliged to report on foreign tourists’ activities that are inappropriate [legally or culturally] or inconsistent with their visa permits to the local police, immigration office, the Public Order Security Agency [Satpol PP], pecalang [Balinese traditional village security] and tourism office.”
Pemyaun assures the public, “All reports will be followed up immediately.” Pemyaun urged the public to “filter before sharing” content online, advice that echoes warnings shared by the Head of Public Relations of the Bali Police, Kombes Pol Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto, earlier this week.
Kombes Setianto warned both local people and visitors in Bali that uploading and sharing content online that contains material deemed illegal or defamatory in Indonesia risks criminal prosecution.
Kombes Setianto said, “If there is an incident, the public can immediately report it to the police or other relevant agencies. [Reporting] can also be done via social media as long as it doesn’t violate the rules, as stipulated in the ITE Law [Online Defamation Law].”
The statements from the authorities and their urgency to ensure that the positive image of Bali remains strong come as further steps are being taken to crack down on badly behaved tourists on the island.
As Bali prepares for the upcoming high season, officials on the island, along with communities and tourism stakeholders, are keen to ensure that high-quality tourism prevails in Bali.
Officials wish to establish a tourism model that promotes sustainable tourism with a strong focus on cultural preservation and celebration.
Bali is truly a unique travel destination, an island steeped in rich culture and heritage.
Moving into what Governor Foster called a ‘New Era of Bali,’ he and his provincial government want to see the future of tourism evolve in a way that aligns with traditional Balinese values.
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