Indonesia seeks updated media regulation

Indonesian government officials and international TV executives have called for modernised rules for the country’s broadcasting sector during a high powered Regulatory Roundtable in Jakarta.

Co-sponsored by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), the Ministry of Communications and Informatics (Kominfo) and regional multichannel TV Association CASBAA, the May 17th meeting examined media convergence, the state of current regulation and proposed updated rules and regulations for Asia’s third most populous nation.

Acknowledging the “acceleration of the development of communication technology and the media industry,” KPI Chairman Yuliandre Darwis said, “We need strong, fair and clear regulations. In this era of globalization, regulators and regulations must answer the challenges of the new technologies.”

The Indonesian parliament would soon consider legislation to update existing Broadcasting Laws, “So it is the right time to consider changes that should be made.”

Keynote speaker and former senior UK regulator Tim Suter said the rapidly changing media landscape meant that “old TV” regulatory practices could no longer be used to control the entirety of content available to consumers.   A “new media” approach is necessary.

“In the old world of broadcasting,” he said, “the key content regulation relationship was between the state and a few broadcasting companies, with the state operating on behalf of the citizen.”

Today the citizen has access to so much more content; the state’s role is to “provide a basic framework and minimum standards” for a much more diverse media industry.

On the other hand, he added, the media industry must be accountable to society to follow those limited standards, ensure protection against harm (through effective technical tools), and  “all the while meet ever-higher consumer expectations for choice, quality, diversity, and delivery”.

John Medeiros, the CASBAA Chief Policy Officer, echoed Suter’s view that in the “new media panoply” pay-TV (with streamed channels as well as SVOD and TVoD services) more resembles online content platforms than traditional public service television.

With regard to digital content, Medeiros stressed that the pay-TV companies are working to create “safe spaces” for reputable online offerings where viewers can access the content they desire without the “malware, pornography and hate speech” now present on piracy websites and some social media platforms.

In return, he said, governments must make their regulatory frameworks clear and workable, differentiate pay-TV from public service broadcasting, and ensure that the supply of reputable content is not jeopardised by “savage competition from pirates” who respect neither copyright nor any other rules.

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