A coalition of media watchdogs sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday expressing concern over the relative concentration of TV station ownership among too few companies.
Ahmad Faisol, a media activist and member of the Independent Coalition for the Democratization of Broadcasting (KIDP), said the letter was also sent to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), the Capital Market and Financial Institution Supervisory Agency (Bapepam LK) and the Constitutional Court.
Ahmad held the KPI and Bapepam LK responsible for the failure to enforce the law and control the growth of big private networks in the wake of the media liberalization. As a result, the letter states, the Indonesian broadcasting sphere lacks fairness, equality, ethics and diversity.
As an example, Ahmad said that concentrated ownership drives television programming that focuses on urban centers like Jakarta without providing options for diverse audiences across the country.
“We want to tell the president that there have been blatant violations of the law requiring private ownership of broadcasting stations,” Ahmad said.
“We would like the president to take action so that there will be no more concentrated ownership,” he said.
The coalition decided to release the statement on their concerns in light of the ongoing plan to merge Indosiar and SCTV. The latter is owned by Elang Mahkota Teknologi group (Emtek), which also owns Omni-TV, also known as O Channel, for the greater Jakarta audience.
Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s MNC Group leads with 37 percent from three free-to-air stations, followed by Chairul Tanjung’s Trans Corp, which owns Trans7 and TransTV.