Regional Media News (Indonesia and Malaysia)

Malaysia: RTM to increase non-Malay ethnic programming

RTM-Malaysia will increase the number of non-Malay ethnic programmes after the Muslim festival Eid ul-Fitr to project Malaysia’s image as a multi-racial country, said the country’s Information Minister, Zainuddin Maidin. He said that in order to reinforce its identity as the national broadcasting body, RTM was responsible for airing more programmes which reflected the racial diversity in the country.

Speaking at the Information Ministry’s monthly assembly today, Mr Zainuddin said RTM had implemented various changes and new approaches aimed at raising the quality of its programmes to attract viewers. “However, if the changes that had been made were not promoted seriously to the people, no one would be aware of these changes,” Mr Zainuddin said. Mr Zainuddin felt that RTM’s customers were no longer as strong as before because many viewers had switched over to the private television stations, reports Malaysian news agency Bernama.

(Source: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)

INDONESIA: Yogya mosque uses TV to reach the masses

Mosque provides daily Ramadhan programming for Jogokariyan residents, plans to expand after holiday

Yogyakarta — A Yogyakarta mosque has turned to television preaching to reach more people. MJTV or Masjid Jogokariyan Television was launched by the takmir (management) of Jogokariyan Mosque in Jogokariyan village on the first day of Ramadhan, or Sept. 13.

“We operate on VHF 4 channel and have a broadcasting radius of some 2.5 kilometers,” Sudi Wahyono, who belongs to the mosque’s takmir, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. With that coverage, according to Sudi, MJTV can reach all residents of Jogokariyan, which comprises 887 families, just under 4000 people, of whom 95 percent are Muslim.

“For the moment we are on air daily from 3 to 11 p.m.,” said Sudi, who is also head of household affairs at the mosque. At present the TV station’s programming consists mostly of live coverage of the Ramadhan activities at the mosque.

Apart from live programs, MJTV broadcasts information regarding upcoming activities for the benefit of the jamaah (community). This is in line with one of MJTV’s main objectives — reaching out with mosque programs to those who can’t be there physically, said Sudi.

The TV allows Muslims to follow preaching activities from the comfort of their homes. After Ramadhan, the mosque plans to expand its programming.

Built in 1996, the mosque’s Kampung Ramadhan (Ramadhan Village) program was launched during the fasting month three years ago in an effort to bring more people to the mosque and promote the neighborhood’s economic potential.

At Kampung Ramadhan, food items are on sale in the afternoon for breaking the fast. There are also performances, films, festivals, competitions and religion workshops. Other fasting month activities include i’tikaf (seclusion and meditation at the mosque for the last 10 days of Ramadhan) and tarawih, non-obligatory, Medina-style evening prayers on Saturday.

“So far we have invested some Rp 20 million in the station,” said Sudi, mentioning CCTV cameras and other broadcasting equipment, transmitters, converters, VCD players, switchers and TV sets. To cut costs, the takmir’s own four-by-six meter, air-conditioned office has been used as a studio. All TV crews work on a voluntarily basis.

“We all work for God here. So, let Allah pay for our salary,” Sudi said. Jogokariyan Mosque has become a management model for other mosques and even a minor center for comparative studies.

Other mosques’ takmir and representatives of religious offices from as far away as Pangkal Pinang and Kampar in Riau province have visited the three-story building.

“Most of them wanted to know more about our Kampung Ramadhan.”

Indonesia: Batam radio stations accused of broadcasting foreign programmes

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission in Riau Islands province has criticized a number of radio stations in Batam for selling airtime to religious groups from Singapore, allowing them to broadcast religious programmes in foreign languages. The commission’s provincial chairman, Hendriyanto, told The Jakarta Post that out of 14 private radio stations in Batam, five have sold airtime to religious institutions from Singapore.

The airtime is being used to broadcast religious programmes in foreign languages like English, Mandarin and Tagalog from the Philippines. An hour-long slot costs between S$60 and 100 per hour, with each of the radio stations involved broadcasting such programmes for at least three hours per day. “There are religious programmes from the Confucian, Christian and other religions, and they are aired in English or Mandarin,” Hendriyanto said.

(Source: Jakarta Post)

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