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Indonesia hikes quota for local content

JAKARTA – The Indonesian Parliament passed a tough media law Monday mandating a 70% local programming quota and giving the government the power to revoke broadcasting licenses.

However some lawmakers described the legislation as more progressive than the press law, because the media standard requires court proceedings before a private TV or radio station can be shut down. The Minister of Information, Mr. Harmoko can – and has – banned publications at his discretion.

“The media law is a step forward,” said Marcel Beding, a member of the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party.

The law, which was not divulged to the media, enables the government to stop any TV or radio broadcast. The government can issue written warnings, temporarily suspend transmission, or revoke licenses. The law bans programs containing violence, pornography, superstition, feudalism, gambling, “permissive and consumptive” lifestyle and hedonism.

Penalties for infractions include three years in jail or a fine of up to $127,000. TV advertisements are subject to censorship, and those promoting alcohol and cigarettes are banned. At least 10% of ads must be allocated to government information services.

It remains to be seen how the five private webs, which currently devote 40% to 50% of their airtime to local product, will grapple with the new 70% quota. TVRI retains its pubcaster status and will be given a special channel for educational programs.

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