Indonesia: The film ‘Heart of Jakarta’ banned by university officials

11 May 2012

A student group at Diponegoro University, Kronik Filmedia, was banned from screening ‘Sanubari Jakarta’ (‘Heart of Jakarta’) on campus.

Officials banned the film, which previously passed muster at the Film Censorship Board and screened in movie theaters, for discussing the taboo-topics of ethnicity, religion, race and inter-group issues.

“We have tried to persuade the rectorate to give us permission, but they refused,” Seksi Kurniawatim, a representative of Kronik Filmedia told The Jakarta Post.

Diponegoro University deputy rector Warsito said that the university refused to give permission for the screening to avoid community resistance. University officials had not seen the movie, he added.

The movie ‘Sanubari Jakarta’ comprises 10 short films inspired by true stories of same-sex romance. (Link to trailer below). The screening at Undip campus was to have been followed by a discussion with the film’s directors, actors and actresses.

Similar to the incident at Diponegoro University (Undip) in Semarang, Central Java, The Jakarta Post reported that another prominent Indonesian university, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, have stopped their students from holding activities discussing lesbian or gay issues.

Author discussion event stormed

In Yogyakarta, the administration at UGM canceled a discussion about the book ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’, written by Canadian author Irshad Manji, for “security reasons” after a violent mob from the Indonesian Mujahideen Assembly (MMI) had stormed a discussion with Irshad Manji at the Social and Islamic Studies Institute in Sorowajan in Bantul, Yogyakarta.

The mob injured seven people at the discussion, destroyed copies of the books at the meeting and vandalized the LKiS office.

The university’s refusal to allow the discussion has been roundly criticized, as the institution has long enjoyed a reputation as a staunch proponent of freedom of speech.

Director of the Institute for Islamic and Social Studies, Farid Wajidi, said the institute held the discussion despite threats because it did not want to acquiesce with certain community groups that could not accept different thoughts or opinions. “Freedom of thoughts and speech are like air. Without them, the LKiS is nothing,” Farid said.


The Jakarta Post – 11 May 2012:
Two universities crack down on student free speech rights
By Ainur Rohmah and Bambang Muryanto

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