Jakarta probes radio stations for alleged fraud

THE Indonesian government has placed several private and local government-run radio stations under scrutiny for alleged fraud and has threatened to ban them permanently.

Information Minister Raden Hartono disclosed that several stations under the control of local governments had aired commercials illegally.

Investigations also showed that private stations had operated without proper licences from the ministry.

“Violations occur almost throughout the country, as if the regulations are taken for granted. We now intend to restore order,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Hartono, however, declined to reveal the names of radio stations being investigated. The Jakarta Post yesterday quoted him as saying that a special task force, comprising officials from the Information Ministry and police, was behind the investigations.

There are 898 radio stations operating in Indonesia’s 27 provinces, with 700 of them belonging to private companies and 146 owned by municipal governments. The state-owned Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) has 52 stations.

Mr Hartono said that local government-run radio stations were set up to transmit programmes broadcast by RRI and to disseminate local government policies to the public.

Their broadcasting activities were funded by the respective governments. He said many radio stations complained about financial problems and set very low prices for advertisements.

He said that he would ask local government officials not to allow private stations to operate if they failed to get a permit from the Information Ministry.

Stations which flouted the law faced the prospect of a permanent ban, he added.

Mr Hartono, who was appointed Information Minister two months ago, also announced that the government would revoke licences of several publications.

“It is being done for technical reasons. They ignored press regulations, that’s all,” the Indonesian daily Republika yesterday quoted him as saying.

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