Friday, April 18, 2008

Indonesian radio station vows to stay on the air

The director of an Indonesian radio station vowed today to stay on air following a demand to shut down, saying the government should not bow to external pressures. Erabaru (New Era) Radio director Gatot Supriyanto said the station had received a letter from the government’s broadcasting watchdog ordering it to close soon or “receive legal sanctions”.
The Indonesian Broadcast Commission said last year that the Chinese embassy had complained that the private radio station, run by members of the Falungong spiritual movement, has been airing criticism of Beijing. It prompted the watchdog to monitor broadcasts from the station, based on Batam island, south of Singapore.
“We reject any form of intervention from anyone towards the freedom of press in Indonesia, including in this case the Chinese government,” Supriyanto said. “We broadcast current events including oppression to Falungong members by the Chinese government. Maybe they are unhappy with it,” he told AFP, adding that the radio station remains on the air.
Falungong is banned in mainland China and rights groups have accused Beijing of persecuting its members. Supriyanto said although he practises Falungong, the radio station, which started broadcasting in 2005, is neutral and is not run by the movement. “I reject reports that Erabaru Radio airs programmes that discredit the Chinese government,” Supriyanto said.
(Source: AFP/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)