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East Timor films banned by Indonesia JAKARTA - Indonesia has banned three films about its long and bloody occupation of East Timor, saying that if local audiences were to see them it could "reopen old wounds" as the two countries try to move forward. The films had been scheduled for screenings at a film festival last month in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, but were pulled at the last minute.

Tens of thousands of people in East Timor were killed during Indonesia's 24-year occupation of the tiny half-island territory. A final campaign by anti-independence militia funded by Indonesia left 1,000 people dead after the country voted overwhelmingly for freedom in a UN sponsored referendum in 1999. Jakarta has refused to cooperate with East Timorese courts that have indicted several officers for war crimes.

The two documentaries and one animated film focus on alleged atrocities carried out during the occupation and UN led moves to reconcile pro- and anti-independence villagers since the 1999 vote. "We feared the films might 'reopen old wounds' at a time when a bridge of friendship is being built between East Timor and Indonesia," said Titie Said, head of Indonesia's film sensor board.

One of the banned films is Singapore-made Passabe, a documentary about a remote village that saw some the worst massacres following the 1999 independence vote. Shot over a year, the film captures the lives of those affected four years on. The filmmakers were invited by the United Nations-backed Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation to document the hearings and efforts at bridging deep divisions in post-conflict East Timor.

James Leong, co-director of Passabe, said he was disappointed about the banning. "We wanted to see what the Indonesian reaction would be like," the British director said. The board often orders cuts in films, but the bans are some of the first it has handed down since the downfall of Suharto in 1999, said Said, adding the filmmakers were free to resubmit the films to the board.



Posted in General @ 11 January 2006 14:22 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





sascha
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That's how "free" n "open" media works in indonesia. Emoticon: Stupid
Dont learn from the past, just forget the past. Hard to understand asian mentality. Emoticon: Wink



Agung
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Hi Sascha,
this is quite normal behaviour: close the eyes when you see something you don't like. Perhaps the only exception I can think of is post WW II Germany. You should be proud to live in a country that's able to face it's past, but don't expect it of the rest of the world.



stijn
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In Holland some photographs of srebrenica disappeared too a few years ago. And scandals within the royalty have been covered up as well. It`s about politics not the media. I think the media in Indonesia aren't so bad. Some topics, especially about military operations are politically very sensitive. Covering them up sometimes can make things only worse. But on the other hand the situation on the border of Timor Leste is still tensed as is shown by the shooting of three people at the border and the protests afterwards:

www.liputan6.com/view/1,115599,1,0,1136995444.html

Maybe it`s too early for films about Timor.
Salam hangat Bule



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