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Yogyakarta Sultan defends police banning of film on 1965 political prisoners

Tempo - May 5, 2016

Pito Agustin Rudiana, Shinta Maharani, Yogyakarta – Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengku Buwono X has defended the Yogyakarta metropolitan police for shutting down an event commemorating International Press Freedom Day held by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Yogyakarta on the evening of Tuesday May 3.

The reason for this is because there were pro- and contra-views at the event at the AJI secretariat that was planning a film showing of the documentary "Buru Island My Homeland" (Pulau Buru Tanah Air Beta) by director Rahung Nasution.

"The police had no choice. Rather than a clash taking place with the potential to make things more difficult for police, it was better it be resolved, stopped", said the Sultan speaking after an economic census socialisation at the Inna Garuda Hotel in Yogyakarta on Wednesday May 4.

The Sultan rejected the view that he does not allow differences given the origins of this country that was established amid a background of differences. The Sultan claimed that the measures taken by police were simply to prevent a clash between pro- and contra groups, namely violence.

"If [members of] the public itself generate these (the pro- and contra views), then the police are in a very difficult position", said the Sultan.

According to the Sultan, an attitude of tolerance must be a mutual agreement because the differences that have been born since the Indonesian state was establish have not been a weakness. Nor has it been based on forcing ones views on others.

"Up until now there has never been an agreement, yes these pro- and contra-[groups] are a problem. [If] each feels that their views are correct, [then] it will continue to happen", said the Sultan.

The Sultan also doubts that a dialogue between the different parties could be held. According to the Sultan, a dialogue can only be held if those invited can accept the views of other people and accept those elements that are not the same.

"If there is a dialogue and [they] maintain their differences, how can they understand [each other]? It's not possible right", said the Sultan.

AJI Yogyakarta's records show that there have been a series of threats against the freedom of expression, belief and discussion over the last few years. According to the Wahid Institute, in 2015 Yogyakarta become the second most intolerant city in Indonesia.

"The Sultan as the governor of Yogyakarta province and the king of the Yogyakarta Royal Palace has allowed intolerance to grow in the region", said AJI Yogyakarta chairperson Anang Zakaria.

Responding to the pro- and contra-views, Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) speaker Yoeke Indra Agung Laksana has asked that scholarly events not be viewed as activities that can give rise to sensitivities.

"Please sort it out. Provide protection. But it has to be purely scientific. Don't take up political missions or group interests", said Laksana when speaking at the DPRD building.

Earlier, police banned a film showing of the documentary about Buru Island which was accused of being communist propaganda. During negotiations, police asked the AJI to show a different film instead.

Not only did they ban the film showing but the police, which press groups accuse of being the principle enemy of press freedom in Indonesia, also forcibly closed down the event.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Sultan Yogya Bela Polisi Bubarkan Pemutaran Film Pulau Buru.]

Source: https://m.tempo.co/read/news/2016/05/05/078768649/sultan-yogya-bela-polisi-bubarkan-pemutaran-film-pulau-buru.

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