Indonesian journalists protest Balibo censorship

Legal Aid Center for the PressThe Jakarta chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has filed a lawsuit against the Indonesian Censorship Institute (LSF) for banning Robert Connolly’s film Balibo.

The LSF banned the film – about Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor and the Australian journalists who died covering the events – when it was scheduled to screen at the Jakarta International Film Festival last December. Private screenings were organised after the film was censored.At the time, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the ban was to protect the international image of Indonesia, and Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik added that Balibo could damage relations between Australia, Indonesia and East Timor.

According to reports from The Jakarta Globe, the executive director of the Legal Aid Center for the Press, S.H. Hendrayana, said the ban was a “violation of the public’s right to information”.

Wahyu Dhyatmika, chairman of the Jakarta chapter of AJI, told the press that it was “[President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono]’s homework to clear up this matter”.

“[The ban] has left a stain on the people-to-people relations of Indonesia and Australia since there is still a group of people, especially the victims’ families,” Dhyatmika was quoted as saying.


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