IFJ Condemns Indonesia Court Ruling on Balibo Ban

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed to learn that the Jakarta State Administrative Court in Indonesia

has upheld a ban on an award-winning film depicting the murder of Australian

journalists in 1975.


A ruling by a panel of judges on August 6 agreed

with the Film

Censorship Board (LSF) that the controversial film Balibo could “reopen old wounds” and that the board had

fulfilled required administrative procedures to ban it, the Jakarta Post reported.


The film, which was prevented from

being screened at the Jakarta Film Festival in 2009, tells the story of the

murder of six Australian journalists in East Timor as Indonesia sought to annex it in

November 1975.


IFJ affiliates the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Indonesia and the Media Alliance in Australia condemned the court’s decision and

urged Indonesia’s

authorities to intervene to permit the critically acclaimed film to be shown in



Contesting the ban, AJI argued

in court that the censorship was a violation of the public’s right to

information. It plans to appeal the decision to uphold the ban.


“The Indonesian Government’s continued attempts to stifle an important

story, one which is already well-known around the globe, undermines the rights

of its citizens to hear the full story of what happened when the six

journalists were killed,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


“The IFJ, with its Australian and

Indonesian affiliates, reaffirms its commitment to overturn the ban on Balibo and to ensure people in both

countries have uncensored access to the film and other credible reports

regarding the journalists who were killed in 1975.”


Balibo was banned on the

grounds that it depicted violence and that the film had only used Australian

and East Timor sources, a matter that

concerned the Indonesian Government, reports said. The military has been

particularly sensitive on the topic.


The IFJ and affiliates call on

Indonesian authorities to reinvestigate the Balibo case and other journalist

killings in the country, to send a clear message that justice will be served

against those who attempt to muzzle a free press through violent means.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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