INDONESIA: Candidates' histories need to be aired on TV
The General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) will soon issue a joint decree on presidential campaigning via electronic media, encouraging television stations to air the track records of presidential candidates
The Jakarta Post
Thursday, May 13, 2004
By A. Junaidi
The General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) will soon issue a joint decree on presidential campaigning via electronic media, encouraging television stations to air the track records of presidential candidates.
"The revelation of track records is aimed at informing the public on the background of presidential and vice presidential candidates: It's like education for voters," KPI member Bimo Nugroho told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Bimo suggested that the stations reveal information on Gen. (ret) Wiranto, the presidential candidate of the Golkar Party, including his alleged links to human rights violations in the Trisakti and Semanggi shooting incidents and East Timor rioting.
He said the stations could also disclose information on other candidates, including Gen. (ret) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Democratic Party and Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid of the National Awakening Party (PKB).
Besides Wiranto, Susilo and Gus Dur, the other presidential candidates are incumbent President Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Amien Rais of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Hamzah Haz of the United Development Party (PPP).
Furthermore, Bimo explained, the planned joint decree would also regulate advertising by presidential candidates on television during the one-month campaign period starting June 1.
"The decree will allow presidential candidates to advertise themselves on television for longer than was permitted during the legislative election campaign period as long as it does not exceed 20 percent of a TV station's daily airtime," he said.
The KPU and KPI earlier issued a joint decree for the legislative election campaign, permitting 24 political parties to place ads on television for a maximum of 10 slots of 30 seconds each per station per day.
Bimo said the longer duration for advertising would be permitted as the July 5 election would be participated in by fewer contestants -- six pairings of presidential and vice presidential candidates.
"We hope that the candidates will focus more on their programs, instead of just promoting their names or symbols as happened in the legislative election campaign period," he asserted.
Currently, there are 13 national television stations, including state-owned TVRI.
For the legislative election, the PDI-P reportedly spent about Rp 39 billion (US$4 million) on advertising, Golkar Rp 21 billion, and other parties less than Rp 6 billion. Most of the money was spent on TV ads.
Besides advertising, Bimo revealed the decree prohibited the candidates from buying special time, known as "blocking time", on television for their campaigns.
"If there is a talk show that supports a particular candidate's campaign, the TV station should put out an announcement that it's an ad," he added.
The draft decree has been thoroughly discussed by the KPU, the KPI and the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro) for almost two weeks.
Separately, Cetro executive director Smita Notosusanto stated the decree would also urge the KPU and television stations to organize a debate between presidential candidates.
"It will be free of charge for candidates to join the debate and to introduce their programs. It will be good way of educating voters," Smita asserted.
She said, however, that candidates might skip the debates as they were not obligatory.
Date Posted: 5/13/2004