Indonesian Cinema: The Battle Over Censorship

Shadia Imanuella Pradsmadji(1*), Nina Mutmainnah(2)

(1) Cinema Poetica
(2) Universitas Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


The practice of film censorship has been in Indonesia since the Dutch East Indies era. Since then, film stakeholders have always been the battleground, as the different values and norms generate different views and beliefs. The critical constructionism paradigm is used to examine the contestation of film censorship in Indonesia. Four films released after the enactment of the 2009 Film Law are used as the case study: The Act of KillingThe Look of SilenceNaura & Genk Juara, and Memories of My Body. Data collection was done through a collection of news reports and social media posts that discussed the four films used as the case study. In addition, interviews with four stakeholders were done, which were an alternative cinema manager, a representative of the Indonesian Censorship Board (LSF), a representative of the Indonesian Film Body (BPI), and a film actor/director. The research results indicated that different stakeholders have different views and interests regarding film censorship, which explains why the polemic of contestation over the film censorship policy happens. Some people believe that film censorship should exist, as it would give control over society. At the same time, some people believe that film censorship should be replaced by film classification as a form of freedom of expression. There are also arguments over the standards of film censorship. Academically, the research’s significance is to develop studies regarding film censorship polemic and its stakeholders’ contestation. In contrast, practically, the research may be used to formulate film censorship regulation and policy by evaluating factors that may cause conflict among film stakeholders. 


Film censorship; film stakeholders; contestation; policy; values

Full Text:



Anshari, Irham Nur. “Sistem Klasifikasi Dalam Pemutaran Film: Studi Kasus Klasifikasi Film Di Kinoki.” Jurnal Ilmu Sosial Dan Ilmu Politik, vol. 17, no. 3, 2016, p. 220, doi:10.22146/jsp.13087.

Barker, Thomas A. C. A Cultural Economy of the Contemporary Indonesian Film Industry (Doctoral Dissertation). National University of Singapore, 2011,

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. 9th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2010.

Corduneanu-Huci, Cristina, and Alexander Hamilton. “Selective Control: The Political Economy of Censorship.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, no. 8556, 2018,

Diani, Hera. “Indonesia Butuh Lembaga Klasifikasi Film, Bukan Lembaga Sensor.” Magdalene, 2019,

Eriyanto. “Sensor Dan Kebebasan Berekspresi Dalam Dunia Perfilman Indonesia.” Tidak Bebas Berekspresi: Kisah Tentang Represi Dan Kooptasi Kebebasan Berekspresi, Institut Studi Arus Informasi, pp. 65–95.

Gentile, Douglas A. “Are Motion Picture Ratings Reliable and Valid?” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 47, no. 5, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, 2010, pp. 423–24, doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.08.016.

Irawanto, Budi. Film, Ideologi & Militer: Hegemoni Militer Dalam Sinema Indonesia. 2nd ed., Warning Books & Jalan Baru, 2017.

Kurnia, Novi. “Lambannya Pertumbuhan Industri Perfilman.” Jurnal Ilmu Sosial Dan Ilmu Politik, vol. 9, no. 3, 2006, doi:

Kusuma, Veronica, and Ignatius Haryanto. “Sensor Film Di Indonesia.” Ketika Sensor Tak Mati-Mati, edited by Ignatius Haryanto, Yayasan Kalam, 2007.

“Larang Film Senyap, Komnas HAM Sebut LSF Seperti Orba.” Hukumonline.Com, 2015,

Long, Paul, and Tim Wall. Media Studies: Text, Production, Context. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2012.

Mishra, Samina. “The World in the Classroom: Using Film as a Pedagogical Tool.” Contemporary Education Dialogue, vol. 15, no. 1, 2018, pp. 111–16, doi:10.1177/0973184917742250.

Nugroho, Yanuar, et al. Memetakan Kebijakan Media Di Indonesia. Centre for Innovation Policy and Governance, 2012.

Nurik, Chloé. “50 Shades of Film Censorship: Gender Bias from the Hays Code to MPAA Ratings.” Communication, Culture and Critique, vol. 11, no. 4, 2018, pp. 530–47, doi:10.1093/ccc/tcy024.

Pasaribu, Adrian Jonathan. “Perfilman Indonesia Sebagai Indikator Demokrasi.” Indoprogress, 2014, pp. 1–11,

Petley, Julian. “The Censor and the State in Britain.” Silencing Cinema: Film Censorship around the World, edited by Daniel Biltereyst and Roel Vande Winkel, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, pp. 149–65, doi:10.5860/choice.51-1382.

Sasono, Eric, et al. Menjegal Film Indonesia: Pemetaan Ekonomi Politik Industri Film Indonesia. Edited by Eric Sasono, Rumah Film, Tifa Foundation, 2011.

Zimmer, Christian. “All Films Are Political.” SubStance, vol. 3, no. 9, 1974, pp. 123–36, doi:10.2307/3684517.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1288 | views : 1457


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Shadia Imanuella Pradsmadji, Nina Mutmainnah

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View My Stats