Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Indonesia Needs to Learn from PBS and NPR

By Nurul Hasfi

It was interesting to learn that the Public Broadcast Service (PSB) and National Public Radio (NPR) in United States are independent media institutions. They maintain an independence that might difficult even for private media institutions in U.S. that sometimes still bring their ideology into writing stories.

Bill Cohen, a reporter for Ohio Public Radio/Public Television in the Statehouse News Bureau said that his media ideology is to serve the public, not to serve anyone else even the government that supports some of its operation.

“Our audiences are only 10% of U.S. population, but it grows year by year. Mostly they are educated people”, he added.

Another important thing is the audience's donation for public broadcasting in U.S. My country, Indonesia, has public television, Televisi Republic Indonesia (TVRI), but our public is not willing to support its operation. TVRI’s operation is supported totally by the government. This situation creates problems because in some cases, the government still has some intervention to TVRI in terms of its news content that gives way to unfair reporting. It has become the reason why the public rejects supporting TVRI’s operation. Moreover, the public’s need for information is already provided by 10 private television stations in Indonesia that are more independent than TVRI.

I am sure that Indonesia needs public service media that serves the public as Ohio Public Television and Radio do. At least, PBS has no financial dependence to anyone but the public. Based on my observation, I also find that Indonesian private television in some cases fails in providing fair information since they are owned by some groups that have political interests.

On the other hand, it is understandable that TVRI is still immature in running the concept of public broadcasting since it has been operating for just 8 years after government changed TVRI‘s status from state broadcasting television to public service broadcasting in 2002. In this case, I think TVRI should learn from U.S.

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