Indonesia: Making waves

When a community radio station was set up in Yogyakarta by the Jesuits of the Puskat Audio-visual Studio, it was quite popular, but was closed down for want of a license by the local authorities in 1998. The Jesuits were not to be beaten however; they knew how effective a tool the radio is in bringing about change. They were back on the air in 1999, as part of a community radio movement that was spreading throughout the country, and to Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines as well. In November 2002 the Indonesian government finally signed a new broadcasting law, and today in Yogyakarta there are as many as 52 community radio stations. Radio Balai Budaya Minomartani is on the air six hours a day, with volunteer announcers and participation by youngsters. On offer are cultural and educational programmes, like English courses for elementary schools and interactive discussions on family life. In January the Sultan of Yogyakarta, who is Governor of the province, visited the radio station and had a dialogue with people from various religious backgrounds that was broadcast live. The members of the communities (mainly Muslims, Christians and Buddhists) are getting to know each other and becoming friends in a pluralistic society. The Sultan expressed the hope that the community radio would promote freedom of expression, local culture, and people participation. [HL30604]