Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Indonesian Film Censor Board (LSF) has banned the screening of Australian movie " Balibo " in Indonesia.

According to LSF, the movie was banned because it tells about the killing of five Australian journalists by Indonesian soldiers during the invasion of Dili, East Timor, in 1975. This is contradictory to the Indonesian government’s version of the journalists being killed in a crossfire.

However, the banning of the movie does not mean that Indonesians cannot watch it. On the contrary, many people are watching the pirate DVDs of the movie which can be found easily in Jakarta, although not in cinemas but at their own premises.

Further, the movie became much more popular after a retired Colonel in the Indonesian Army suddenly appeared and informed journalists that he is a witness to the killings of the 5 journalists by the Indonesian Army.

For detailed media reports on the above, please click here and here.

Considering the above, I felt that the banning of the movie would not be effective in the present age of transparency whereby lots of information including movies can be easily accessed through the internet.
Rather then banning, it would be better if the Indonesian government make a movie that tells about its own version of the Balibo incident.


kami said...

people just making film for money but not think about the effect.

H. Nizam said...


In general, yes.
In this case it may be different, the effect may have been predicted.
But, that's democracy.

Thank you for dropping by.

Rob Baiton said...


Nah, not tempted (almost)...


H. Nizam said...


Actually I have been waiting for your comment.
I would even understand harsh ones.

colson said...

Banning, censorship, in relation to art and entertainment in a free society should be a no go area. Fortunately interested civilians seem to outsmart LSF in this case.

By the way: I don't think the world is waiting for an Indonesian propaganda movie on the subject( probably an independent artistic one on this or similar subjects would be better).

Rob Baiton said...


Not harsh, my friend. I enjoy entering into lively debate with you. However, this is probably not the case for either of us.

The film is what it is, a film. It is not being sold as a documentary. Films based on real events usually tend to take a little bit of creative liberty. This is a story that is just as much, if not more, about Roger East and his relationship with Jose Ramos Horta.

The Balibo incident is central to the overall plot. However, the Roger East story is equally interesting; how he came to be in Dili, how it came to be that he stayed, and why he was executed on the Dili shore with many many others.

I understand that you are wary of anything that deals with events of decades past. I have never said that you should not be wary. However, an example of Indonesia's official history that may not be as accurate as Soeharto and his cronies would have had the Indonesian people believe is also in the distant past for many (not for all); the events of 1965 / 66.

As I said to you some where else. Some times it takes many years for the truth to come to the fore, some times it never does. But, that does not mean we should not be listening for it when it does come.

H. Nizam said...


You are very right, especially not in this age of transparency brought by the internet where many things can be exposed.

Re: government version of the story
would surely be biased.
But the government has a right to make the film if they want to.

H. Nizam said...


Thank you very much for your comment.
I too enjoy every debates that I ever had with you, it made me learned a lot.

For me the movie is special because it tells a story different from what have been officially told here.
As I have said in my writing here, in your blog and elsewhere I think that it would be better if the movie is not banned. Because it would make people curious and look for the pirates ones which we are available here.
I too hope that one day the truth shall be revealed.