Pacific Media Watch

8 August 2010

INDONESIA: Court rejects AJI appeal to have Balibo film ban overturned

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Ruling described by critics as 'vague'

JAKARTA: The Jakarta Administrative Court on Thursday rejected the Alliance of Independent Journalist's appeal to overturn the ban on the Australian film Balibo about the  deaths of six journalists in East Timor.

Sholeh Ali, a lawyer from the Legal Aid Center for the Press (LBH Pers), which is representing the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in proceedings at the State Administrative Court, said the court's decision was "vague".

"The judges have referred to the wrong provisions and they have applied them to this case ambiguously," said Sholeh after the final hearing of  the case ended.

Wahyu Dhyatmika, chairman of the Jakarta chapter of the AJI, told the Jakarta Globe that they expected such an outcome. The AJI blamed a lack of attentiveness from the judges when hearing the testimony of Shirley Shackleton, a widow of one of the six Australian-based journalists killed in Timor-Leste during the incursions and invasion by Indonesia  
in 1975.

"This is a setback to press freedom and free speech in Indonesia," said Wahyu, adding that they will file a fresh appeal over the verdict within a week. - Jakarta Globe/Pacific Media Watch


Ismira Lutfia

Indonesian journalist

Ismira Lutfia is a reporter working with the English-language Jakarta Globe.