Two Aceh Community Radio Stations Closed Down

In mid-July, the Association of the Indonesian Frequency Monitoring Board (BALMON), an agency of the Communication and Information Ministry, forcibly closed down two community radios in Aceh and may close down more, arguing that the stations did not have a proper license.

About 20 members of the military police stormed the office of Suara Perempuan (Women’s Voice) radio station in Banda Aceh and confiscated its transmitter. This was done even though the regional office of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPID) had been reviewing Suara Perempuan’s application for a license. The station, the first to operate in Aceh after the tsunami, focuses on issues of gender and women’s empowerment, with a large audience among the middle class. Seha Radio in Jantho, the capital of Aceh Besar, was also closed down.

These actions took place against the background of a power struggle between BALMON and KPI. Several radio stations that had been banned by KPI, including the military-run radio station in Lhokseumawe, remain on air.

Southeast Asian Press Alliance, “Authorities Closed Two Community Radios in Aceh,” 28 July 2006.