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Economy, Communications

Pos Kota, DeTik, TVRI, RCTI, Jakarta Post

A lack of modern communications has long been a serious problem in Indonesia, largely because relatively few Indonesians can afford them and because settlements are scattered over many islands. The government, however, has increased investment in several areas. In 1990 Indonesia had 7 telephones for every 1,000 people. In the early 1990s Indonesia increased its satellite capacity by one-third in order to improve telephone services, and the country has installed fiber-optic cables across Java and between the main islands. As a result of these and other improvements, local telephone calls doubled between 1991 and 1994; however, in 2000 Indonesia still had just 31 phones and 17 mobile telephones for every 1,000 people.

Indonesia’s main government-owned television station, TVRI (Yayasan Televisi Republik Indonesia), was founded in 1962. The first privately owned commercial television station, RCTI (Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia), began operating in 1989. In 1997 there were 68 television sets and 155 radios per 1,000 people.

The country’s first private company to provide Internet services began operation in May 1995. Several government departments and leading newspapers were online in 1996. However, Indonesia is far behind Malaysia and Singapore in terms of the population’s access to the Internet. Many of the nations of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, continue to debate whether to restrict access to certain kinds of information on the Internet.

Most of Indonesia’s large daily newspapers are published in Jakarta in the Bahasa Indonesia language. These newspapers include Kompas, Pos Kota, and Berita Buana. The Jakarta Post is a well-known English-language daily. Many major cities also have local newspapers, such as Pedoman Rakyat, a daily published in Makassar. The government owns the Indonesian National News Agency, which is known as Antara. Suharto’s government maintained a tight control on newspapers and magazines, censoring content that was critical of the government and especially the president. In June 1994 the government revoked the licenses of Tempo, Editor, and DeTik, three widely read current affairs magazines. After Suharto left office in 1998, censorship was relaxed, resulting in more varied content in newspapers and the launching of many new publications.



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