|New Zealand / Indonesia:
Indonesian embassy stops musical performance
At a festival in New Zealand, an audio-visual composition which focus on the indigenous people and politics of Indonesia was withdrawn after presure from the Indonesian embassy
“The rights of New Zealanders have been infringed,” stated the composer of the musical piece ‘Papua Merdeka’ which was withdrawn at the Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington in New Zealand on 17 February 2007. The New Zealand Indonesia human rights committee condemned the move as “deplorable censorship”.
According to the human rights committee, Indonesian embassy officials had advised the festival’s organisers of the embassy’s opposition to the musical item, and the performance was then cancelled. Instead it was shown in a closed session. The human rights committee found it especially disturbing that a composition has been banned because the word “freedom” (merdeka) is part of its title.
He told Radio New Zealand International it was an issue of free speech:
Embassy: No pressure, only concern
“It might hurt the people from Indonesia who are here also – their feelings. To talk about Indonesia in a different way will somehow, I think, cause them to feel upset,” Mr Purnajaya told to the listeners of Radio New Zealand International .
Radio New Zealand International – 13 February 2007:
‘Indonesian embassy in Wellington asked to drop opposition to a musical item called Papua Merdeka’