An Australian movie about the Balibo Five is set to be screened today even without the approval of Indonesia’s censorship body.
The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club organized the private screening of “Balibo” at a cinema in Jakarta, limited to invited guests only.
The movie tells of how five Australia-based journalists were brutally killed by Indonesian soldiers in the East Timorese town in 1975, which contradicts the Indonesian government’s version of the newsmen being killed in a crossfire.
Pudji Rahayu, head of the secretariat at the Film Censorship Agency (LSF), said Robert Connolly’s “Balibo” was not in their list of movies to be reviewed, let alone be aired.
“Every movie that will be screened in Indonesia must go through our censorship first,” she said, “and if they have not been submitted, they cannot be aired.”
Anthony Deutsch, JFCC’s vice president, said the event would be a private screening and that it was not for public consumption. “However, we will take it into consideration any decision [of the LSF],” he said.
The film is also due to be shown in the upcoming Jakarta International Film Festival, but those screenings could hinge on LSF approval. The LSF has formed a special team to assess whether the film is too politically sensitive for Indonesian audiences. According to a law on film censorship, a movie rejected by the LSF cannot be aired or distributed.
Earlier this year, the Australian federal police announced that it would start a war crimes investigation into the killings, weeks after the movie was released in the country.
The Australian Associated Press reported that the Indonesian government has labeled the movie “offensive. ”