Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on Indonesia’s
Government to reverse a ban on an award-winning film depicting the murder of
Australian journalists in 1975, and urges Australia’s
Government to raise the killings with Indonesian President Bambang Yudhoyono
when he visits Australia
Christopher Warren, a member of the IFJ Asia-Pacific steering committee and Federal
Secretary of Australia’s
journalists’ union, the Media Alliance, has written to Australia’s
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, urging him to raise the issue of the
killings and the ban on Balibo with
DrYudhoyono this week.
The film, which was prevented from
being screened at the Jakarta Film Festival last year, tells the story of the
murder of six Australian journalists in East Timor as Indonesia
sought to annex it in November 1975.
The call by the Alliance
comes as another IFJ affiliate, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI)
filed a lawsuit in the State
Administrative Court against the Indonesian
Censorship Institute (known as the LSF) for its decision to ban Balibo.
AJI argues the ban, which was
introduced in December, is a violation of the public’s right to information.
“This week’s visit to Australia by Dr Yudhoyono is a very real
opportunity to discuss a major impediment to our two countries developing a
truly cooperative and cordial relationship; the events of November 1975 and the
murder of six Australian journalists,” Warren
“At present, the Indonesian Government
will not even permit the film Balibo to be screened in public. Indonesia’s
Foreign Minister has said that the ban aims to protect his country’s image
abroad. This ban, in fact, has the opposite effect of suggesting that Indonesia’s
commitment to a free and open media is less than whole-hearted.”
The IFJ stands firmly with its Australian
and Indonesian affiliates in seeking to overturn the ban on Balibo and to ensure citizens of both
countries are provided with full information about the circumstances in which
the six journalists were killed.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries