10 March 2016
In 2014, World Tobacco Asia (WTA)’s exhibition first scheduled to be held in Bali, then in Jakarta, was booted out of Indonesia by protests from Indonesian and international advocates.
The organisers then attempted to take the exhibition to Singapore but were also denied. The Singapore Straits Times described it as ‘absurd’ that Singapore was considered the site of the fair. Hence the 2014 tobacco exhibition was cancelled altogether!
The WTA organisers have now come up with a new tactic renaming this tobacco exhibition, “Process & Machinery” Exhibition and are returning to Jakarta in April. The event is again organised by Tobacco Journal International and Quartz Business Media. The word ‘tobacco’ does not appear anywhere in thepromo to shut out any opposition and placate the Jakarta local government that has instituted strong smoke-free regulations including a ban on tobacco advertising on billboards.
The WTA exhibition returning to Indonesia is a broken promise. Earlier when the 2012 WTA exhibition was held in Jakarta, it was met with a mammoth public protest. Numerous students and health advocates had a sit-in at the entrance to the exhibition area until the organisers met with them and promised them that the exhibition will not be held in Indonesia anymore. And here it is, returning to Jakarta.
Indonesian tobacco control advocates have started a petition on change.org; To show your support, visit: https://www.change.org/p/bapak-basuki-btp-tolak-pameran-industri-rokok?source_location=petitions_share_skip
The petition is in Bahasa Indonesia, the appeal message in summary:
Indonesia has again being targeted by the tobacco industry to expand its market. World Tobacco exhibition re-titled ‘Process and Machinery Asia Exhibition’ 2016 will be held at the Jakarta International Expo Centre on the 27th – 28th April 2016.
Jakarta is now a city that that has good tobacco control legislation. If Jakarta hosts this tobaccoexhibition it will mean that Jakarta is not being consistent with its regulations.
In 2014, Indonesia was again the target of the international cigarette industry to host the “Inter-tabac Asia” exhibition in Bali – Indonesia. But thanks to the protest of advocates concerned about public health, the exhibition was canceled. Even when it tried to move to Jakarta, it was firmly rejected by the Governor. Therefore, we are appealing to the Jakarta Governor again toreject the WT Process and Machinery Asia Exhibition 2016!