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Indonesia 14 December 2006

A fifth documentary banned at Jakarta film festival

The organisers of the Jakarta International Film Festival announced yesterday that the authorities have verbally banned the screening of the documentary "Promised Paradise" by Dutch filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich.

Reporters Without Borders condemns the decision to censor another film dealing with Indonesia’s recent history. Helmrich’s documentary is about the 2002 Bali bombings. AFP quoted one of the festival organisers as saying, “the film was apparently too sensitive because it included statements by Imam Samudra.” Along with two accomplices, Samudra was sentenced to death for the bombings.


Four films on Aceh and East Timor censored

Reporters Without Borders has lambasted the decision of the Indonesian authorities to ban screening of four films, three on East Timor and one about Aceh province, at the 8th international Jakarta film festival (JiFFest).

The Indonesian Film Censorship Institute (LSF) banned the documentary "The Black Road" by William Nessen, "Tales of Crocodiles" by a Dutch film-maker, "Passabe" by Singaporean James Leong, "Timor Loro Sae", by Brazilian Lucélia Santos. Head of programming for JiFFest, Lalu Roisamri, confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that the decision was final.

The Black Road, which has already been shown at several international festivals, covers events in the province of Aceh, including the tsunami and the peace agreement. Its director, American journalist William Nessen, was imprisoned in Indonesia in 2003 for covering clashes in Aceh between the army and rebels.

“The return of peace to Aceh and East Timor should allow a free and calm debate on the situation in these two regions,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “But the government continues to choose the outdated method of censorship, which is regrettable.”

“The Film Censorship Institute should urgently review its criteria so that freedom of expression can be guaranteed,” it added.

For the three films about East Timor, it was their second successive ban after being refused a showing at the 2005 festival.

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