The Jakarta Post July 24, 2009 RI Dismisses 'Balibo Five' Film as 'Fiction' by Ary Hermawan - Indonesia dismissed as fiction the recently premiered Australian film describing the murder of five Australian journalists by the Indonesian Army during the 1975's war in East Timor, saying the so-called "Balibo Five" case was closed.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah also downplayed the impact of the film on bilateral relations between Jakarta and Canberra, which he said had already officially stated the five journalists had not been murdered, but accidentally killed in crossfire when Jakarta was fighting the Fretilin rebels.
They [the five journalists] were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Faizasyah said.
Directed by Rob Connolly, Balibo is to be premiered Friday at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In the film, the five journalists were murdered by the Indonesian Military to keep the news of the invasion from spreading outside Indonesia.
"It's quite clear the journalists were murdered," Connolly said, as quoted by AFP.
We have to look at the case according to the facts, not a film script...Is the film based on facts, or on the filmmaker's imagination? We consider the film as fiction," Faizasyah said.
Indonesia will not protest the airing of the film in Australia and has not decided whether it will ban it from being aired here, Faizasyah said. "We cannot ban people from making films, otherwise the film industry will die."
A documentary film on the plight of a Chinese Uighur leader, alleged to have incited the worst race riots in China last month, was also screened at the festival to the ire of Beijing, currently in a row with Canberra over the Rio Tinto spy case.
The Chinese government failed to block the screening of the documentary, but Chinese filmmakers canceled their participation in the festival to protest the documentary's screening.
Image added by ETLJB - The Balibo 5: Tortured and murdered by Indonesian troops in Balibo, East Timor, 1975. Jakarta continues to deny the truth surrounding their deaths.
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