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
IFJ affiliates the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Indonesia and the Media Alliance in Australia condemned the court’s decision and
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific