Stance toughened on Falun Gong radio in Indonesia

30 Mar

The Communications and Information Technology Ministry, through the Radio Frequency Spectrum Monitoring Center (BMSFR), plans to force Era Baru Radio station off the air.

Since the radio began airing in 2007, the Chinese government has conveyed a strong protest to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry as it often aired news on the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China.

BMSFR head P. Perangin Angin told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that his office had so far sent the radio station four warning letters requesting that it stop airing its programs, but had gone unheeded.

Perangin Angin said if the radio station insisted on staying on the air, the BMSFR would request that the police, the Prosecutor’s Office and military police help enforce a closure in the near future.

He did not disclose when they would take the measures, but said his office would invite a number of related agencies, such as the police, military police and the Riau Islands Office of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPID) to discuss the issue.

“While waiting for the agencies to meet, we will invite law enforcers to formulate measures to ban the Era Baru Radio station from airing,” Perangin said.

He added based on Law No. 32/2002 on broadcasting, the operator of an unlicensed radio station could face a two-year prison sentence or be fined up to Rp 2 billion (US$200,000) if found guilty.

Riau Islands KPID head Parlindungan Sihombing applauded the tough stance on the issue.

“The government should be firm in upholding the law, whatever the consequences are. The Era Baru Radio station has been airing for more than three years without a permit, and this really sets us back,” Parlindungan said.

Riau Islands Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Anggaria Lopis said they had received a copy of the warning letter from the BMSFR.

“We are still waiting for the report from BMSFR before taking action. The violation is already clear.”

Era Baru general manager Rachmat Pudiyanto said they would continue to operate as usual from 5:30 a.m. to 12 midnight every day, because the ministry had not given a deadline on when they should cease their operations.

“We will just wait because we also need legal certainty on our business,” Rachmat said.

“The government tends to be indecisive because the BMSFR has issued warning letters four times and we were offended by them.”

During a recent media conference, Era Baru Radio director Raymond Tan admitted they aired news on Falun Gong.

“We have received four warnings to stop airing from BMSFR,” he said.

Radio Era Baru airs 30 percent of its programs in Mandarin and targets the Indonesian-Chinese community as its market segment.

 text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Reports/World/201002/t106654.htm

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