Indonesian Government Denies Independent Radio Station Right to Broadcast

By Miranda Wijaya
Miranda Wijaya
Miranda Wijaya
April 29, 2009 Updated: January 30, 2012

Under pressure from the Chinese regime, Indonesia has revoked the broadcasting license of Radio Eraburu (New Era), an affiliate of the international media company, Sound of Hope.

While the two companies are separate entities, Radio Eraburu often broadcasts reports from Sound of Hope, which reports widely on the human rights situation in China.

The Chinese Embassy has put pressure on the Indonesian government to limit or block Radio Eraburu in Indonesia because the station broadcasts on subjects considered sensitive by the Chinese regime such Tibet, Falun Gong and the pro-democracy movement.

Radio Eraburu’s coverage extends to the regions of Batam, Bintan, Karimun, Singapore, and Johor.

Since 2005, Radio Eraburu has broadcast in Indonesia. However, on May 8, 2007, the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta attempted to pressure the Indonesian Broadcasting Committee (KPI) to block Radio Eraburu. The Chinese regime attempted to equate Radio Eraburu with Sound of Hope and say that it should be banned in Indonesia.

According to a press release from Radio Eraburu, the unsigned letter sent by the Chinese Embassy “was addressed to four Ministries of Indonesia, such as KPI, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Intelligence, and the Ministry of Communication and Information.”

Later that month, Radio Eraburu, the Legal Aid Center for Press (LBH Pers) and the Alliance of Independence Journalists (AJI Jakarta) visited KPI jointly to reject the letter by the Chinese Embassy.

Throughout the rest of 2007, the Chinese Embassy put more pressure on KPI, “demanding Radio Eraburu reduce its Chinese-language program,” according to the press release.

On Dec. 5, 2007, five radio stations in Indonesia won a ruling and obtained formal broadcasting licenses, while Radio Eraburu did not.

More recently, on April 14 this year, Radio Eraburu sent a letter to the State Administration Court in Indonesia to appeal against the ruling but were denied. The Epoch Times obtained a letter from the embassy which attacks and defames Radio Eraburu.

The president of Sound of Hope, Allen Zeng, says that the Chinese regime is attempting to block Radio Eraburu because they report on human rights issues in China within Indonesia.

Zeng added that this is something that the Chinese regime has been doing for many years now outside and inside China.

“In China, they jam many radio stations that report on human rights. A radio expert analyzed the situation and he said the level of the jamming on Sound of Hope was unseen in his career,” he said.

He said that within China, Sound of Hope’s “staff and management’s relatives are harassed and have been arrested in China as well.”

“People in China who provide news stories to Sound of Hope in China are also arrested,” he said.

According to the local Indonesian Radio Eraburu president Liman Kurniawan, there were several indications that the station would not receive a license from the government. KPI “never sent out a formal letter” that said they were denied, so the news was relayed to them through local media.

Furthermore, he says that Radio Eraburu has appealed to local and state courts but has been denied without any clear reasons for their denial.

However, under Indonesian law, “Radio Eraburu cannot stop broadcasting,” according to Kuriawan.

As of now, Radio Eraburu has filed a lawsuit to a Higher State Administration Court to try to appeal against the court’s decision.

Less than one month ago, the Chinese Embassy placed pressure on Indonesian officials to cancel the Shen Yun performance in Jakarta on March 29. Before the cancellation, the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism received a letter from the Chinese Embassy defaming Shen Yun.