February 9, 2006
President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
Republic of Indonesia
Jakarta Istana Negara
Via facsimile: +62 21 345 7782
The Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to rescind four new broadcasting regulations that went into effect on Monday. As a nongovernmental organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, we are concerned that these regulations will limit foreign broadcasts in a way that will hamper the free flow of information necessary for Indonesia’s growing democracy. The new regulations confine broadcasts from international sources to shortwave radio and cable television networks, shutting off a large portion of Indonesia’s listeners and viewers from news sources outside of the country. Your government should be working to broaden the numerous voices of information available on the country’s 160 radio and television stations rather than reining them in.
Of equal concern to us are the regulations controlling private broadcast licenses and the assignment of broadcast frequencies. We fear that by empowering the Ministry of Communications and Information to regulate these activities rather than the independent National Broadcasting Commission (KPI), as has been the case in the past, the process will come under undue political pressure.
To arrive at a broad democratic consensus about how best to regulate Indonesia’s broadcast industry, we call on you to use the power you have as president to dismiss these new regulations–Government Regulations on Broadcasting 49, 50, 51, and 52–and institute a full review of the relevant broadcast laws that incorporates input from all concerned parties within civil society. By seeking a broader consensus you will ensure that Indonesia’s broadcast media will be able to serve the growth of Indonesia’s democracy.
Thank you for your attention to these urgent matters.