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Cablegate: Demarche Response On Satelindo Broadcasting of Al-Manar Tv

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #0922/01 1300911
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 090911Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8960
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0043

C O N F I D E N T I A L JAKARTA 000922
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/PD, EEB/CIP/TS, EEB/ESC/TFS, EAP/RPS, S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2018
TAGS: PTER PREL KPAO ECIP KTFN ID LE XC
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE RESPONSE ON SATELINDO BROADCASTING OF AL-MANAR TV
REF: STATE 44312

Classified By: Economic Officer Yvonne Gonzales for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: Based on initial meetings with Government of
Indonesia officials, it appears there are three possible
routes for ending the broadcast of al-Manar television in
Indonesia: 1) a formal U.S. complaint to the Indonesian
Broadcasting Commission (IBC) and the Department of Foreign
Affairs based on violations of Indonesian law and possible
damage to our bilateral relations, 2) a regulatory solution
as al-Manar may not have the required permit to broadcast in
Indonesia and 3) an independent decision by Indosat to avoid
reputational risk by ending broadcasts of al-Manar. The
Embassy has met with Ministry of Communication and
Information Acting Director General for Information and
Communication Facilities Freddy Tulung, Deputy Minister of
State Owned Enterprises and Indosat Commissioner Roes
Aryawijaya, Foreign Ministry Deputy Director of Information
and Media Services Sam Marentek, Singapore Embassy Deputy
Chief of Mission Lim Hong Huai and Telkom Executive Vice
President David Burke. We have requested additional meetings
with the head of the Indonesian Broadcast Commission, the
president director of Indosat and an independent commissioner
of Indosat. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) FORMAL COMPLAINT TO THE IBC OR GOVERNMENT OF
INDONESIA: Under Law Number 32 of 2002 on Broadcasting,
regulation of broadcast content is the responsibility of the
Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (IBC) which is charged
with receiving complaints and regulating content based on the
broadcasting code of conduct. The code of conduct prohibits
broadcast content containing incitement or violence and is
"prohibited to mock, degrade, insult religious elements, or
the dignity of Indonesia or break off international
relations." Tulung said there have been no formal complaints
about al-Manar to date. Tulung referenced a case that
involved a pro-Falun Gong radio broadcast. In April 2007 the
Chinese Embassy made a formal complaint to both the IBC and
the Indonesian government, asking the IBC to monitor Radio
Era Baru for programs that could disrupt Chinese-Indonesian
relations as per Law Number 32. The IBC did monitor the
station´s broadcasts and the station continues to operate
while still contesting GOI and foreign interference. Tulung
said the Government of Indonesia would not interfere in
broadcasting content unless there was a negative impact on
communal or bilateral relationships. He said a formal
complaint from the U.S. would trigger a review of the
broadcast content by the IBC.

3. (C) AL-MANAR MAY NOT HAVE AUTHORIZATION TO BROADCAST:
Marentek told us Indonesian law requires foreign broadcast
permits be approved by the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of
Communication and Information and IBC prior to initial
transmission. According to Marentek, the Foreign Ministry
has not received an application for broadcasting al-Manar
television. Therefore, he asserted that Indosat likely did
not have proper authorization to broadcast al-Manar.
Marentek promised to investigate the matter further.

4. (C) WARN INDOSAT OF REPUTATIONAL RISK: Anjawijaya said he
would raise the al-Manar issue with Indosat´s president
director and with Temasek´s wholly-owned subsidiary Singapore
Technologies Telemedia (STT), which at 40.81% is indirectly
the largest single shareholder in Indosat. Anjawijaya
recommended we approach Indosat´s president director and
independent Commissioner Soeprapto, former assistant
personnel to the Army Chief of Staff from 2000-1. Anjawijaya
hinted that Soeprapto would likely be sympathetic to
arguments that al-Manar broadcasts have a potentially
negative impact on Indonesia,s domestic security. Indosat
will hold a general stockholders meeting on June 5 where the
issue of al-Manar broadcasts could be raised.
5. (C) Huai told us Temasek appoints some of Indosat´s board
members, but is not involved in direct management control of
Indosat. He described it as a "purely investor
relationship". However, Anjawijaya said Temasek is able to
influence Indosat through STT. Huai said he would convey our
message to Temasek. He expressed concern Temasek could be
penalized for providing material assistance to al-Manar and
he asked whether any owner of a broadcast host for a U.S.
designated terrorist organization had been penalized.

6. (C) TELKOM HAS NO RELATIONSHIP WITH AL-MANAR: Burke told
us Telkom does not own the Palapa C-2 satellite from which
al-Manar is broadcast. According to documentation Burke
provided, the Palapa C-2 satellite is owned by Indosat. He
said al-Manar approached Telkom in September or October 2007,
but Telkom decided not to do business with al-Manar and Burke
did not know the reason for this.

7. (C) NEXT STEPS: Embassy will continue to meet with
stakeholders, including representatives of Indosat and IBC,
to end the broadcast of al-Manar television in Indonesia.
HUME

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