Fri, December 04, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific

Indonesia defends ban on movie depicting reporters killed Timor Leste

2009-12-04 08:15:58 GMT2009-12-04 16:15:58 (Beijing Time)  xinhuanet

JAKARTA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Friday that it would be un-proportional to judge the level of Indonesian democracy through the ban of "Balibo 5," an Australian movie depicting five Australian journalists killed in Timor Leste during Indonesia's military act there in 1975.

"We leave it to the Indonesian Film Censor Board to assess whether the movie is suitable for Indonesian viewers or not," Teuku said at a press briefing session. He added that government did not intervene in the decision made by the film censor board.

Teuku said the board comprising historian, clerics, artists have full authority to qualify a film to be screened in Indonesia.

"Among the considerations are national interests and its historical content that still needs to be verified," he said.

According to Teuku, those five Australian journalists were killed in the crossfire between Timor Leste militiamen and Indonesian troops.

On Aug. 30, 1999, in the United Nations-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of Timor-Leste people voted for independence from Indonesia.

Teuku said that the movie was just a fiction story since it was adapted from a novel wrote by an author who had her own "unilateral aspiration" over the incident.

Teuku added that Australian and Indonesian governments had agreed that the deaths of those journalists were part of the risks the journalists have to face when they take coverage in armed conflict areas.

Indonesian journalists association earlier deplored the government's ban on the movie, saying that it tarnish the democracy in Indonesia.

The "Balibo 5" film is based on a book written by Jill Jolliffe, who witnessed the first incursions of the Indonesian military into Balibo, and reported the deaths of her five fellow journalists in the former Indonesia's province.

The movie suggested that the five slain Australian journalists be executed by Indonesian troops.

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