Subject: Balibo Victim’s Wife To Testify Against Film Ban

via JoyoNews

also Wife of Balibo Reporter Blames Army for Killings

The Jakarta Post

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Balibo victim's wife to testify against film ban

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Association of Independent Journalists (AJI) will present Shirley Shackleton, the widow of an Australian journalist allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers during the invasion of a village in Timor Leste, as a witness in a trial challenging the government's decision to ban a film depicting the killing.

Shirley is the widow of Greg Shackleton, one of five journalists widely believed to have been murdered by the Indonesian Army in Balibo, Timor Leste, in 1975.

"The witness will help us confirm the facts featured in the film to challenge the Film Censorship Institute [LSF]'s conviction the film was based on questionable materials and therefore should be banned," chairman of the AJI's Jakarta chapter Wahyu Dhyatmika told a press conference on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at the conference, Shirley said she still sought the prosecution of those held responsible for the death of her husband.

"That Greg and the other journalists had gone to the Timor Leste amid the massive threat of the Indonesian military occupation at that time is not at all fiction," she said.

Shirley, who used the occasion to launch a book telling her years of struggle in seeking justice for her late husband, added that banning the film screenings would only increase the suffering of the families of the victims.

Dhyatmika said he hoped the panel of judges would conclude that the reasons for banning the film were unjustifiable and overrule the government ban.

Mugiyanto, coordinator of the Indonesian Association of the Families of Missing Persons (Ikohi), added that presenting Shirley was part of the effort conducted by AJI in collaboration with the rights activists to remind the government, in this case represented by the LSF, that it would be more honorable to open itself to such issues rather than cover them up.

"The younger generation must also learn from the mistakes of their elders. Therefore it would be better for our government to be open on this issue. There is no reason to be ashamed," he said.

The LSF issued an official letter prohibiting the screening of Balibo Five in December last year, stating that the film, which is loosely based on the novel called Cover Up by Jill Jollife, only used oral sources from Australians and Timorese in a matter that concerned the Indonesian government. The agency said that the impartiality of these oral sources were thus questionable.

Head of the LSF's legal division Tedjo Baskoro last week said the sole reason the authority to ban films still rested with the LSF was simply because current regulation allowed it.istanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Association of Independent Journalists (AJI) will present Shirley Shackleton, the widow of an Australian journalist allegedly killed by Indonesian soldiers during the invasion of a village in Timor Leste, as a witness in a trial challenging the government's decision to ban a film depicting the killing.

Shirley is the widow of Greg Shackleton, one of five journalists widely believed to have been murdered by the Indonesian Army in Balibo, Timor Leste, in 1975.

The witness will help us confirm the facts featured in the film to challenge the Film Censorship Institute [LSF]'s conviction the film was based on questionable materials and therefore should be banned," chairman of the AJI's Jakarta chapter Wahyu Dhyatmika told a press conference on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at the conference, Shirley said she still sought the prosecution of those held responsible for the death of her husband.

That Greg and the other journalists had gone to the Timor Leste amid the massive threat of the Indonesian military occupation at that time is not at all fiction," she said.

Shirley, who used the occasion to launch a book telling her years of struggle in seeking justice for her late husband, added that banning the film screenings would only increase the suffering of the families of the victims.

Dhyatmika said he hoped the panel of judges would conclude that the reasons for banning the film were unjustifiable and overrule the government ban.

Mugiyanto, coordinator of the Indonesian Association of the Families of Missing Persons (Ikohi), added that presenting Shirley was part of the effort conducted by AJI in collaboration with the rights activists to remind the government, in this case represented by the LSF, that it would be more honorable to open itself to such issues rather than cover them up.

The younger generation must also learn from the mistakes of their elders. Therefore it would be better for our government to be open on this issue. There is no reason to be ashamed," he said.

The LSF issued an official letter prohibiting the screening of Balibo Five in December last year, stating that the film, which is loosely based on the novel called Cover Up by Jill Jollife, only used oral sources from Australians and Timorese in a matter that concerned the Indonesian government. The agency said that the impartiality of these oral sources were thus questionable.

Head of the LSF's legal division Tedjo Baskoro last week said the sole reason the authority to ban films still rested with the LSF was simply because current regulation allowed it.

We have thoroughly examined all aspects and then therefore came with the decision to prohibit the film's screening, which is allowed by the implementing regulation on films. Therefore we have violated no laws in this particular case," he said.

"We have thoroughly examined all aspects and then therefore came with the decision to prohibit the film's screening, which is allowed by the implementing regulation on films. Therefore we have violated no laws in this particular case," he said.

---

Wife of Balibo Reporter Blames Army for Killings

JAKARTA, July 8 (AFP) - The wife of an Australian reporter allegedly killed by Indonesian forces in East Timor in 1975 told a Jakarta court Thursday that she believed her husband was shot after surrendering to the army.

At a hearing called to lift a ban on a controversial movie of the events, Shirley Shackleton said she was convinced by evidence given to an Australian inquest into the death of her husband and four other foreign journalists.

"It found that their hands were in the air giving themselves up, they were not armed and were wearing civilian clothes and the perpetrators of this atrocity were members of (the Indonesian military)," she said.

"Balibo", the first feature film ever made in East Timor, premiered in Melbourne last July before an audience including East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta, who says Indonesian forces murdered the reporters.

Starring Anthony LaPaglia, it tells the story of the five journalists killed when Indonesian troops overran the East Timorese town of Balibo in October, 1975, and a sixth who died later in the full-scale assault on Dili.

Jakarta has always maintained that the so-called "Balibo Five" died in crossfire as Indonesian troops fought East Timorese Fretilin rebels.

Indonesia banned the film but groups including the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) launched the legal challenge against the censors' decision.

Shackleton, 78, said she returned to Jakarta to support the filmmakers' bid to lift the ban "because they reached their objective to clarify the lies and the cover-up. In good Aussie slang... the cat is out of the bag."

During the hearing, she held up a hand and counted off the nationalities of the five dead journalists; two Britons, Two Australians and a New Zealander.

The ban has stirred debate over the nature of free speech and democracy in Indonesia, where the military remains sensitive to the subject of the reporters' deaths.

It has also threatened to overshadow relations between Canberra and Jakarta after Australian police last year launched a war crimes investigation into the deaths.

An official from the film censorship board told the court that Balibo was "one-sided" as it failed to include the official Indonesian version of events.

Speaking before the court convened, Shackleton said the case was "important to establish whether democracy is alive and well in Indonesia."

"I hope the ban will be lifted," she said, adding: "Isn't that what democracy is based on?

"Justice is not about vengeance it's about accountability, that's the justice I want," Shackleton added.

On Wednesday AJI Jakarta head Wahyu Dhyatmika called Shackleton a "very brave woman".

"It's very inspiring to see a 78-year-old person who is still energetic and still wants to seek justice," he told AFP.

The 2007 inquest in New South Wales was told that Yunus Yosafiah -- who later became a cabinet minister -- was one of the ringleaders of the alleged massacre.

Outside court Shackleton challenged him to meet her and "clear his name".

Last year a retired Indonesian army colonel told Tempo, an Indonesian weekly magazine, that the reporters were shot by Indonesian troops.

Gatot Purwanto, a former special forces commando and veteran of the Timor invasion, said the reporters were killed when troops heard gunfire coming from the house where the foreigners were hiding.

At least 100,000 East Timorese lost their lives through fighting, disease and starvation during the brutal Indonesian occupation, which ended with a bloody vote for independence in 1999.


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