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Filmmaker refused permission to shoot in Central Java

(AJI/IFEX) - Local officials of Karanganyar District in Surakarta, a city in Java, Indonesia, refused to allow a film director to shoot a movie and even issued threats against the crew over accusations that the movie's script is filled with communist ideas.

The National Police Headquarters, through a letter dated August 28, 2008, and signed by the head of the Security Intelligence Division, Police Senior Commissioner Edy Janto, had earlier given permission for the production crew to do the filming in Surakarta, a city in Central Java. However, the Karanganyar local government and police office have so far refused to issue a permit, citing the alleged communist ideas in the script.

In a press statement, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) condemned the ban imposed by the Karanganyar district government and threats made by local communities as disproportional to the alleged offense. AJI added that the ban and the threats restrict freedom of expression, in this case, through the medium of film. It added that censorship, intimidation, terror, violence and oppression in the name of certain ideologies are legacies of the New Order regime and an infringement of the principles of democracy and human rights.

The director, Eros Djarot, clarified that the story of the film, entitled "Lastri", was about love and the struggle of an Indonesian woman in the 1960s. "Lastri" is an adaptation of a book titled, "The Voices of Women on the 1965 Tragedy", written by Ita F. Nadia.

The book is about a love affair between a member of the Indonesian Women's Movement (Gerwani) and a man who was a member of the Indonesian Student Concentrated Movement (CGMI). It also tackled the story of a rape victim during the post-September 30, 1965, attempted coup.

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