House and Broadcast Commission urges national TV digitalization

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Indonesian Broadcast Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia – “KPI”) Commissioner Aswar Hasan. (Photo: KPI)

IO – Indonesian Broadcast Commission (Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia – “KPI”) Commissioner Aswar Hasan urges the Government to accelerate the digitalization of national television despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. Digitalization is implemented in many countries in the world, especially in European countries and in parts of ASEAN. “We are underdeveloped in terms of migrating our communications from analog to digital or performing an analog switch off (“ASO”). It is a challenge for us all,”  

Aswar said in the Socialization and Publication for Protecting Indonesia and Its Borders through Digital Television broadcasting held on Monday (16/11/2020). Aswar stated that digitalization efforts must be made with proper planning, so that all citizens can reap its benefits equally. KPI hopes that digitalization will also be implemented in border areas. “We hope that the plan to digitalize television in the border areas work fine. After all, the borders are the porch of our home as a nation, so to speak. How good we are as a nation is frequently reflected by the good governance of our national threshold,” he said.  

KPI and all its elements express a strong commitment to cooperate with the Government in implementing digitalization, especially in terms of cooperating with the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Board (Badan Aksesibilitas Telekomunikasi dan Informasi – “Bakti”) of the Ministry of Communications and Informatics. Earlier, Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate stated that he is working to accelerate the digitalization of national broadcasting. There are several reasons why this acceleration is necessary. The first reason is that Indonesia is woefully behind in ASO implementation, especially when compared to its neighbors: Thailand and Vietnam, for example, completed their ASO program in 2020, while Malaysia and Singapura completed their ASO in 2019. Johnny said that the gap in implementing ASO broadcasting might cause diplomatic issues between ourselves and our closest neighbors soon. “If Indonesia takes too long in resolving the ASO matter, there is a potential of trouble with the neighboring countries, especially at the borders. We need to harmonize our radio frequency spectrum with that of our neighbors, as this might cause a potential international dispute,” he said.  

In terms of catching up to our lack in the digitalization of the broadcast industry, Ministry of Communications and Informatics’ Director General of Public Information and Communication Widodo Muktiyo believes that Indonesia can close up technological gap with neighboring countries and obtain many benefits of digitalization. “The Ministry believes that Indonesia can catch up with its digital lag by 2022 and benefit from the digitalization of the broadcast industry,” he said. “We believe that adopting digital technology and performing intensive coordination with KPI will speed up the transformation of our national broadcasts. It will help our country’s economy recover faster from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and can even help us best our competitors.”  

Revising Laws Similarly, Member of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) from the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera – “PKS) Jazuli Juwaini encourages everyone to massively socialize the digitalization of our broadcasting. KPI and DPR are especially the first ones to do this; the people will be able to understand the necessity of digitalizing our broadcast. “Lack of socialization will cause the people to make the wrong conclusions about digitalization because of their lack of understanding, and this in turn will cause rumors and such,” he said.  

Jazuli further states that Law Number 32 of 2002 concerning Broadcasting needs to be revised in order to smooth out the transformation of television digitalization. The Law should be revised so that KPI can become stricter and more powerful in the exercise of its authority. Furthermore, digitalization infrastructures need to be constructed more quickly. Just amending the regulations will not do: accelerating our broadcast industry is impossible if we have not even finished discussing relevant regulations. “We need to strengthen and revise the Broadcasting Law, and that’s the responsibility of the DPR and the Government. We still need to perfect the regulations. The authorities of the KPI, KPID, can be organized better into groups and improved,” he said. Jazuli further stated that the digitalization of broadcasting must ensure diversity of content, which is possible by using it to digitalization to encourage creative economy in all of our regions. “We need to make sure that there is a large diversity of content, as well as diverse ownership of broadcast rights. We need to consider differences of geography, demography, and economics to prevent broadcast digitalization from causing new gaps and widening existing ones. This will increase the number and variety of creative content available, which will improve creative economy on the local scale. Let’s not allow access to such information be obstructed, even totally closed off, because we fail to prepare suitable infrastructure,” he said. (Dan)