Frequency: For Public or Politicians?

Wiranto and Harry Tanoe are not actors. But on February 1, they played on a popular soap opera “Tukang Bubur Naik Haji” (Porridge Seller Go Hajj) on RCTI. Since they are presidential candidates from Hanura (People’s Conscience Party), this was not their acting career, but political campaign. They refused it by saying it was not a campaign.

Indonesia will hold the legislative election on April 9, and presidential election on July 9, but various political messages on TV has been getting more often since last year. From regular advertising to quizes, talent show and even soap opera. Since presidential candidates from 3 parties are also television owners, this condition seems easy to understand. Facing election, independence of several media in Indonesia may makes us worry.

Grab your remote and watch Global TV, RCTI, or MNC TV, you will find Wiranto and Harry Tanoe (candidates from Hanura) almost everywhere. Switch the channel to Metro TV, you will see Surya Paloh (candidate from Nasdem Party) with his ambitious speeches on various events. Next, on tvOne and ANTV, you will see Aburizal “Ical” Bakrie (candidate from Golkar Party) in almost every single hour. Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) said that Ical’s ads were shown on tvOne and ANTV 430 times on October 2013 only.

Quoted by Tempo Magazine on January 20, the popularity of these parties are growing rapidly. Each Hanura and Nasdem party now have above 6 percent of support. Quickly grab the position of senior parties like PAN (National Mandate Party) and PKS (Prosperous Justice Party). Golkar is also senior, and by the help of intense ads, the popularity is still between 15 to 20 percent.

KPI has realized that earlier. That is why KPI summoned and reprimaned these 6 partisan TV stations last year. But these televisions seemed do not care about it. Then a civil movement called Frequency Belongs to the Public (FMP) begun last January. By bringing a petition signed by 3.500 people, the movement forced KPI to give more serious sanction to partisan televisions. KPI claimed that they could not move further because there was not yet any regulation about political campaign ads. The similar reason was used by 6 televisions. TV argued that only General Election Commission (KPU) and Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) have the authority about campaign, not KPI. However, 7 commissioners of KPI agreed to fullfil the petition.

KPI commisioner Danang Sangga Buwana wrote on Koran Tempo, on February 3. He said that in facing political ads, KPI will take a progressive decision. Danang wrote that KPI is now making a policy to forbid all political messages on TV till the official campaign period began. KPI’s broadcasting regulation about protecting public interest, he wrote, is almost final. I appreciate this positive response, keep up the good work.

I cannot imagine if KPI just doing nothing. After we see Wiranto and Harry Tanoe played in a “Tukang Bubur Naik Haji”, maybe they will take several actors and actress from RCTI to be a legislator candidates from Hanura Party? Like Nikita Willy maybe? 

Politicians may have TV stations but the frequency belongs to the public forever. Public deserves quality, neutral information from TV, whoever the owner is. So, our dearly commissioners of KPI, we are counting on you. The decision is all yours and public is ready to support you. By the way, have you watched a movie “Di Balik Frekuensi” (Behind the Frequency) by Ucu Agustin?***


  1. You are more expert in writing journalistic article, Rio.
    I'm happy for you and so prpud of you.

    Nevertheless, I don't know why I don't have any interest to concern on public election.

    Btw, where can I watch the film you told at last?

    1. Really? Ah you are too kind to me, Isti haha I know that you are better than me in writing in English

      So do I, Isti. This article actually started from my concern on the frequency, not the election haha :p

      The film is, unfortunately, distributed only for AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen) or in special discussions. Everybody can ask @ucuagustin to hold that kind of discussion and watch the movie there. Believe me, you will hate your TV after you watch it! :D

  2. Fortunately, I have no tv these 3 years and 4 months when I go to college. And when I go home, I always choose foreign tv station like NHK, Nat Geo, Al Jaazeera, and HBO. Lolz.

    In the future, if you write sth about "white group" (golput), please let me know, Rio.
    I believe that being the part of white group is also a choice in democracy.

    1. So you have been a step further than me! Hahaha.. Yes I agree that Natgeo and others are really much better. Even their soap opera like How I Met Your Mother is still better than ours.

      Write about Golput? Hmmm actually that is not my concern either. But maybe I can try :)

  3. Hmmm...
    I'm waiting for it then, Rio. :)


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