Indonesia bans Balibo
December 2, 2009
Indonesia has banned the politically sensitive Australian movie about the Balibo Five.
Indonesia's censorship board, the LSF, made the ruling late on Tuesday, just hours before a planned premiere screening of Robert Connolly's Balibo.
Organisers of the event, the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club, were forced to cancel the screening just minutes before its scheduled start.
The LSF's decision means the Jakarta International Film Festival will also be forbidden from showing the film as part of its lineup.
Festival Director Lalu Rois Amri said he was disappointed by the decision and would try to have it reversed.
"Basically they won't allow us to show it, but I'm still waiting for the formal explanation," he said.
Balibo depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering the five Australia-based newsmen in the East Timorese border town in 1975.
The Indonesian military was instrumental in convincing the LSF to ban the film, which contradicts the official Indonesian explanation that the newsmen were accidentally killed in crossfire.
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 killings.
The probe follows a 2007 coronial inquest that concluded Indonesian forces deliberately killed the journalists to cover up their invasion of East Timor.