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Censors Decide If 'Balibo' Film Can Be Screened

The Jakarta Globe November 17, 2009

Censors Form Special Team to Decide If 'Balibo' Film Can Be Screened in Indonesia

Indonesian censors have formed a special team to decide whether to allow the politically sensitive Australian movie about five Australian newsmen killed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor to be shown in the country.

The Indonesian government has declared Robert Connolly’s Balibo “offensive” and the country’s military has urged the censorship board to ban it, Australian Associated Press reported on Monday.

The movie depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering five newsmen, known as the ‘Balibo Five’, in the East Timor border town in 1975, contradicting the official Indonesian line that the men were killed in crossfire.

The organisers of the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF), which begins in December, want to show the movie, despite possible controversy. They have submitted the movie to the censors, who have formed a special team to decide whether it is too politically sensitive for Indonesian audiences.

The country’s censorship prevented the JIFF from screening several films about East Timor in 2006 because of similar concerns.

The film’s release in Australia earlier this year came just weeks before federal police announced they would conduct a formal war crimes investigation into the Balibo killings, a move that sparked some diplomatic tensions.


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