Bali TV told to stop news program

by Ni Komang Erviani on 2013-05-10

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission Bali branch (KPID Bali) has told Bali TV to stop the airing of its news program, Seputar Bali, due to its biased coverage of the gubernatorial election and the candidates. Bali TV, the sister company of Bali Post daily newspaper, has been banned from airing Seputar Bali for four days, May 8 through May 11.

“Bali TV, through its Seputar Bali program, has ignored the cover-both-sides principle when airing news about the candidates’ vision and mission. They have violated article 40 in the 2012 Broadcasting Guidelines and Program Standards [P3SPS] that regulates the principles of journalism,” the commission head, Komang Suarsana, told Bali Daily on Wednesday.

The commission found that Seputar Bali was repeatedly airing part of the Bali legislative plenary meeting in Denpasar held on April 28, during which the two pairs of candidates presented their vision and mission. Curiously, Bali TV only aired the presentation of candidate number one, incumbent deputy governor AAG Ngurah Puspayoga and running mate Dewa Nyoman Sukrawan, locally known as PAS. Bali TV has never aired the presentation of candidate number two: incumbent Governor Made Mangku Pastika and running mate Ketut Sudikerta.

Bali TV is part of the Bali Post group, which is owned by Satria Naradha, a close friend of Puspayoga. Election Day for the gubernatorial election will take place on May 15.

“Based on the principles of journalism, especially the cover-both-sides principle, the media must air news from both sides. In this case, they must air the vision and mission of both candidates,” Suarsana added.

The sanction for Bali TV was conveyed on May 8, through its letter No. 433/550/KPID. The commission hoped that Bali TV would obey this.

Before imposing the sanction, the KPID had also issued a letter of reprimand, No. 483/487/KPID/2013. However, the commission had not seen any positive progress that showed Bali TV would change its policy.

“We have received many complaints from the public who were disturbed by the biased media,” Suarsana said.

Bali TV news program editor Dewi Tika denied that Bali TV had ignored the 2012 P3SPS. “We have firmly explained to the KPID that the airing of the vision and mission of candidate number one is part of an advertorial. We have offered candidate number two advertising, but they refused,” she said.

Dewi Tika said that Bali TV would temporarily stop airing Seputar Bali, but would air another news program as a substitution. “We are really disappointed about what the KPID has done. They are not independent anymore. Their decision is tainted by political interest,” Dewi said.

Last week, several groups rallied to express their anger about the biased coverage of the gubernatorial election and the candidates. They protested not only about Bali TV, but all the media under the Bali Post group, including Bali Post daily newspaper.

Bali People’s Alliance held a pralina ritual that featured the symbolic cremation of copies of the Bali Post newspaper. Led by 10 Pemangku, low Hindu priests, the ritual was believed to ward off the negativity believed to have clouded the enterprise.

Two other alliances in Denpasar and Buleleng also expressed their protests by burning a copy of the Bali Post newspaper, to symbolize that Bali Post no longer stood as an ideal representation of mass media.

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