Hartono slams embarrassing TV talk shows
INDONESIA’S Information Minister Raden Hartono has urged private television stations to exercise greater control over the contents of talk shows and productions they broadcast.
General Hartono, who retired as army chief last month to take over the information portfolio, was quoted by the Antara news agency yesterday as saying that he himself was often upset by some of the programmes shown on television.
“When I was army chief, I was already feeling embarrassed by such programmes. How could the television stations have allowed such broadcasts?” he told reporters on Wednesday after attending his first Cabinet meeting as Information Minister.
A senior Information Ministry (Depen) official yesterday said Gen Hartono was concerned in particular with the talk shows of two private stations – Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) and Rajawali Citra Televisi (RCTI).
He said that Depen would be meeting SCTV and RCTI editors and producers soon to discuss the contents of their weekly talk shows.
“We will give them a verbal warning and also look at ways to make these programmes more appealing to Indonesians,” the official said.
He added that the SCTV and RCTI talk shows were “too American-oriented” and focused on “undesirable themes” like pre-marital sex, drug addiction, ecstasy, and homosexuality.
He said the government “would not hesitate taking action” against television editors and producers who failed to comply with the Depen warning.
Television producers and journalists contacted by The Straits Times yesterday received Gen Hartono’s comments with mixed feelings.
Noted a television editor, who declined to be named: “We do have society’s interests in mind when we broadcast talk shows because these shows inform and educate.
“The main problem is that sometimes our journalistic judgment differs from government policies and priorities. We do exercise self-censorship but sometimes it is difficult to know where the boundary lines are.”