Since Balibo, directed by Australian Robert Conolly, was released two months ago, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have surprised Jakarta by announcing it has reopened its investigation into deaths the journalists, known as the Balibo Five. Both the Indonesian and Australian governments had previously concluded the reporters were killed in crossfire.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said neither he nor any other government officials had seen the film, but that based on reviews he said it was likely to offend the public.
“I don’t think the censorship agency will allow such an offensive film to be screened in the country, as it will open old wounds,” he told reporters.
The film is based on a book written by Jill Jolliffe, who witnessed the first incursions of the Indonesian military into Balibo, and reported the deaths of her five fellow journalists. She moved to Portugal in 1978, but has continued to press for justice for the Balibo Five for more than 30 years.