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Censorship board ban of Senyap reflects outdated New Order thinking

Hukum Online - January 5, 2015

The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) regrets and condemns recent incidents around the country in which film screenings of the film Senyap (The Look of Silence) have been closed down by certain mass organisations. The Komnas HAM believes that these closures have not just been approved by local police and military, but also by the Film Censorship Institute (LSF).

Komnas HAM member for education and information, M. Nur Khoiron says that the aim of the Senyap film screenings are in the context of resolving past human rights violation. It is hoped that the film screenings around the country can trigger discussions within society about cases of past human rights violations and the 1965 tragedy in particular.

"The Senyap film screenings are an attempt to promote and facilitate Komnas HAM's mandate to resolve past cases of gross human rights violations. As well as a reminder of the importance of reconciliation efforts", said Khoiron during a press conference at the Komnas HAM offices in Jakarta on Monday January 5.

The Senyap screenings around the country, said Khoiron, have the full support of Komnas HAM and the Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ). The [first public] film screening on November 10, 2014 [in Jakarta] was attended by hundreds of social, political and film industry figures. Khoiron condemned the closure of Senyap screenings around the country such those in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta and the East Java city of Malang.

Khoiron said that all parties should support the Senyap film screenings. The police and the military need to provide protection so that the screenings can proceed smoothly, not instead back the mass organisations that are closing them down. The irony is that the LSF has also given its blessing to the closure of these film screenings.

On December 29 for example, the LSF sent an official letter to the chief of police in the East Java city of Malang supporting the banning of Senyap film screenings. The letter was also set to Komnas HAM. "The LSF states that it is not appropriate to show the film Senyap in public", said Khoiron accusingly.

Khoiron believes that the LSF's actions fail to support the commitment by the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla to resolve past cases of gross human rights violations as detailed in their Nawa Cita nine priorities agenda. Moreover the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Education and Culture officially support the screenings.

"What has been done by the LSF is the same as the censoring of films during the New Order [dictatorship of former President Suharto] era, not supporting the upholding of human rights. We urge the LSF to revise the move and support the Senyap film screenings", asserted Khoiron.

Komnas HAM member and the coordinator for the handling of past gross human rights violations, Roichatul Aswidah, says that the Senyap film screenings around the country are aimed at promoting a discussion in society about Indonesian history in order that people understand the nation's history and can discuss it in a mature manner.

On these grounds, the women who's acquaintances call Roi admits that she was surprised as to why the LSF has banned the screenings. Yet the screenings are not for commercial interests but social, namely as a forum for discussion. "We will be asking the LSF why they banned the Senyap film screenings", she said.

DKJ chairperson Irawan Karseno asserts that they support the screenings saying that the film is an intelligent and cultural work that conforms with legislation.

Karseno said he regrets the actions by mass organisations, the police and military who have closed down Senyap film screenings around the country. "Their actions reflect the fact that they have inherited outdated ideas of the past. The 1965 tragedy should not be seen just from a political aspect but more importantly from a sociological and psychological [perspective", he exclaimed.

For Karseno it is appropriate that Senyap obtain room to be appreciated, especially domestically, explaining that internationally Senayp has been well received.

DJK general secretary Alex Sihar said that the LSF's authority to censor films is only valid for commercial works. Senyap meanwhile is not being shown for commercial purposes. Even if there are parts that are considered not to be in accordance with legislation, usually the LSF holds a dialogue with the owner of the film first. He is surprised as to why the LSF did not hold a dialogue before banning the screenings. "There was no dialogue, but the LSF went ahead and issued a document banning it", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Larang Film Senyap, Komnas HAM Sebut LSF Seperti Orba.]

Source: http://www.hukumonline.com/berita/baca/lt54aaaf16ed1ef/larang-film-senyap--komnas-ham-sebut-lsf-seperti-orba.

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