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Ubud cancels sessions following government scrutiny

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has cancelled a number of events in its 2015 program, which runs from 28 October to 1 November in Bali, Indonesia, on the advice of local authorities.

The events cancelled are three panel discussions on the 1965 anti-communist massacres, an art exhibition, the book launch of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Living, and the screening of Oppenheimer’s documentary The Look of Silence.

In a statement, festival organisers said the cancellations follow ‘increased scrutiny from local authorities who have the power to revoke the festival’s operating permit, issued by the national police’. ‘The festival has been involved in extensive negotiations with local authorities, but ultimately was advised that should certain sessions proceed, it could jeopardise the overall viability of the Festival, which spans over 225 events,’ said the festival.

In an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, festival founder Janet DeNeefe said that this is the ‘very first time’ the festival has come under scrutiny from authorities. ‘After many meetings and attempted negotiations, the festival’s permit—our licence to operate—was finally granted on Wednesday with the warning that should we hold sessions dedicated to honouring the victims of the mass killings of 1965, we risk having it revoked,’ she said.

This year’s Ubud festival program, which was announced in August, has the theme ‘17,000 Islands of Imagination’.


Category: Local news