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Jakarta Arts Council regrets cancellation of documentary screenings

Masajeng Rahmiasri
Masajeng Rahmiasri

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, November 30, 2016  /  12:56 pm
Jakarta Arts Council regrets cancellation of documentary screenings

The Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ) said on Monday that it considered the cancellation of screenings of 'Jakarta Unfair' and 'Jihad Selfie' self-censorship by the organizers and the daily management of TIM's Studio XXI cinema. (Shutterstock/File)

The Jakarta Arts Council (DKJ) has expressed its regret over a decision to cancel the screening of two documentary films on Friday and Saturday over security concerns.

The organizers of Documentary Days 2016 had decided to cancel the screenings planned for Friday and Saturday following warnings from the Jakarta city-run Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center (TIM).

DKJ, which is in charge of the supervision and curation of public art events at TIM, said in a statement on Monday that it regretted the decision and considered the cancellation of Jakarta Unfair and Jihad Selfie an act of self-censorship by TIM's Studio XXI cinema.

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The council noted that the organizers, manned by the student body of the economics department of the University of Indonesia (FEB UI), had failed to seek permission to conduct the event from DKJ or TIM management (UP PKJ TIM). "TIM's Studio XXI is a commercial space, not a public space. The alternative space for public screenings managed by DKJ and UP PKJ TIM is kineforum."

DKJ added that kineforum had actually hosted four screenings of Jihad Selfie attended by 123 people on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14 without any issues.

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“The cancellation is a very different case to the banning of the Belok Kiri [Turn Left] festival, where UP PKJ TIM issued an official ban following actual pressure and an official ban from the police,” the council said in its statement, adding that the DKJ was siding with the artists and organizers at the time by rejecting the ban.

Concluding their statement, the DKJ said it welcomed the screening of Jakarta Unfair and Jihad Selfie and similar films that highlighted the “value of art, culture and democratization in Indonesia” at TIM or any public space under the DKJ.

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Jihad Selfiea documentary film produced by social activist Noor Huda Ismail, shows how the Islamic State (IS) movement uses word-of-mouth propaganda through social media to expand its network of jihadists. Meanwhile, Jakarta Unfair tells the story of evictions orchestrated by the city administration in various areas as well as the plight of the evictees after being relocated.

Documentary Days is an annual event held by FEB UI's student body.

Through its official Twitter account, the organizers tweeted that they would still hold the screening of Jakarta Unfairwith a new schedule and location to be announced in the next few weeks. (kes)

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