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 Critics say new Indonesian film law tightening censorship recalls former dictatorship

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BerichtOnderwerp: Critics say new Indonesian film law tightening censorship recalls former dictatorship   Critics say new Indonesian film law tightening censorship recalls former dictatorship Icon_minitimewo 9 sep 2009 - 15:19

Critics say new Indonesian film law tightening censorship recalls former dictatorship
By Niniek Karmini (CP) – 1 day ago

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's parliament tightened government controls on film making Tuesday, passing a law that would establish a new censorship board with the power to block distribution of both foreign and domestic movies.

It also would require theatres in the world's fourth most populous country, now dominated by American films, to allocate at least 60 per cent of screenings to local films.

Critics called the law a return to policies under the country's ousted military dictatorship.

The law has "all the trademarks of authoritarianism," said Deddy Mizwar, a prominent actor and director. "There is no spirit of reform because it goes against the freedom of expression."

It is the second major law under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to provoke strong opposition from the arts community, after an anti-pornography bill in 2008 imposed harsh punishment for nudity in dance and art, or for content considered erotic.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said the new bill is meant to boost domestic film production, not to limit artistic freedom.

"We don't want to interfere ... in the film industry," Wacik said.

The government-drafted bill was passed unanimously and will take effect after Yudhoyono signs it, widely considered a formality.

Indonesia's flourishing film industry is better funded and more independent today than during the 32-year Suharto dictatorship, toppled by a 1998 public uprising, but a censorship board still bans or edits out political and sexual content.

The "Law on Film" will establish a new censorship and certification board with the power to block distribution.

The new law also will require movie producers to obtain government licenses from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which will have wide powers to restrict production.

Domestic filmmakers and foreign producers who want to film in Indonesia have to submit plans, movie titles and scenarios to the authorities at least three months before filming. A violation of rules or permit guidelines could result in a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $500,000, according to a draft of the bill.

Indonesia's movie industry produced 87 movies last year.


Canadian Press, 08-09-2009

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