Editorial: Solving Film Boycott Needs Touch of Magic
Many Indonesians will be thinking about heading to Singapore to catch the latest Harry Potter movie because they cannot watch it at home. That movie fans have to leave the country to watch Hollywood films is a sad indictment of how government policies are hurting the industry and making a mockery of the country.
Shafiq, a member of Indo Harry Potter, an online fan community that has six thousand members across the country, perfectly summed up the situation when he said that he didn’t know how to express his disappointment. “It’s just too cruel for Harry Potter fans in Indonesia,” he said.
Since February this year, six major Hollywood studios have stopped distributing films in Indonesia. This was after the government slapped a $40 million tax bill on movie importers, which it said was owed from previous years. The government also introduced a complicated royalty payment scheme that was opposed by importers and triggered the boycott.
Both sides have met numerous times to try and break the impasse but without success. The Ministry of Finance has agreed to review its new royalty payment scheme but has insisted that the owed taxes be paid first.