We are happy learning that community radio movement is developing in Asia region, such as Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and Indonesia. As we know, some international organizations such as Signis Asia, AR-WACC, and Ford Foundation are supporting this movement. We want to share our experience of organizing community radio in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Puskat Audio Visual Studio together people surrounding Balai Budaya Minomartani (Village Hall of Minomartani) started a community radio in 1995. This radio was already popular among the villagers (radius 4 km) in 1995-1998. But then the local government stopped the operation in 1998 because we didn’t have a license.
We dared to be on air again from 1999-2000 because the people needed this radio. But then the local government banned the radio. Since then a radio community movement started a networking through out the country. We struggled to renew our broadcasting law.
Finally, in November 2002 the Indonesian government signed a new broadcasting law, giving right for people to build community radio. Before the signing of this new law, since July 2002 our community radio has been on air supported by the people and radio community networking. Nearby Yogyakarta there are now already 52 community radio.
Our community radio – Radio of Balai Budaya Minomartani – is now becoming more popular. This radio is on air every day from 6:00 – 12:00 p.m. (FM 107,9 Mhz). Children, the youth and adult involve in this radio. Mr. Surowo, staff at Puskat Audio Visual Studio, is very active in this radio. We have volunteers as announcers (children, youth, adult). We have some regular programs: cultural program, educational program, and interactive dialogue via telephone. People surrounding the station support our need such as sharing food when we have meeting with the audiences or allowing us to use their equipment when our equipment is broken. Recently, on January 15-18, 2004 Mr. Errol Jonathans from Radio Suara Surabaya in cooperation with Ford Foundation organized a production training for 18 volunteers of Radio BBM.
Early January 2003, two members of Indonesian Parliament visited our radio and discussed some important issues with the people and 26 members of community radio network. This discussion was broadcast directly, so that the villagers in radius 4 km listened this dialog. This meeting was also recorded, so that other community radio broadcast it in their respective areas.
On Wednesday, January 29, 2003 (8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.) Sultan Hamengku Buwono X (the King of Yogyakarta, the governor of Yogyakarta Province) visited this radio and discussed important issue about the future of community radio in Indonesia, especially in Yogyakarta Province. There were about 200 people (with various religious background) gathering and having dialogue with the Sultan. This discussion was also broadcast directly, so that other audiences could participate through phone line. The Sultan encourages the community to manage this radio and motivate the community radio networking to communicate with the Department of Telecommunication and the local government in order to get a mutual understanding. The Sultan supports this community radio. He hopes that the community radio promotes peaceful life among religions, freedom of expression, local culture, and people participation.
During the dialogue, a traditional orchestra (gamelan) performance was presented by a group of women. The Sultan was very happy that people still concern to cultivate their local culture.
I hope, you learn about this good news, coming from Minomartani village, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. ***
Community Radio of Balai Budaya Minomartani: firstname.lastname@example.org