Monday, 9 September 2013

Miss World Finals in Doubt After Indonesian Protests

The finals of the annual Miss World pageant are in jeopardy following a decision by the Indonesian government to relocate the competition because of opposition from radical Islamic groups, with local organizers saying Monday that it might not be possible to move the globally televised event on short notice.

 The 2013 pageant kicked off Sunday night with a gala opening show on the Hindu-majority resort island of Bali, and later rounds were scheduled to take place in the capital, Jakarta, before the grand finale on Sept. 28 at an international convention center in West Java Province, just outside the city.

But after a meeting Saturday between Vice President Boediono and officials from the national police and the welfare and tourism ministries, the government announced that the entire pageant could only be staged in Bali, where radical Islamist groups have less of a presence, for public order reasons.

Nana Putra, project director for programming and production at MNC, the Indonesian media conglomerate that is organizing the 63rd annual competition, said that logistically it was probably not possible to relocate the upcoming segments and grand finale to Bali given the shortage of time. She noted that many banquet facilities and hotel rooms had already been booked for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting, which will be held in Bali early next month and attended by President Barack Obama of the United States, President Xi Jinping of China and numerous other world leaders.

“The pageant has different programs, and that requires booking venues, rooms, equipment far in advance,” Ms. Nana said, adding that organizers had been working on hosting the competition since 2010. “It’s just difficult for us to change all these things that we were preparing for a long time. We cannot just change it overnight.”

She said the Indonesian government had neither consulted with pageant organizers nor invited them to the meeting on Saturday, and that they only heard about the decision when officials held a news conference after briefing Mr. Boediono. READ MORE

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