Govt asks Antara to serve public interest

Jagoi Babang, West Kalimantan province (Antara News) - Communication and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring has asked Antara News Agency to serve more the interests of the public not only ventures producing commercial news.

"This is especially (relevant) as Communication and Information Technology has a cooperation in public service obligation (with ANTARA) in disseminating information on the policies of the government in serving the public interest," Minister Sembiring told ANTARA after the launching of an Information Village program at Jagoi Babang, Bengkayang district, West Kalimantan province, on Saturday.

The minister explained that the role of ANTARA was similar to those of state-television TVRI and state-radio RRI in the dissemination of information on governmental policies.

Based in the PSO cooperation model, Minister Sembiring added, ANTARA`s role was not entirely commercial but must also take up the role of information and communication dissemination. "This is especially related to taking up local issues so that the wider communities of people can know them," he said.

Antara News Director Saiful Hadi, responding to the request of the minister, said that ANTARA will always support the Information Village program as it was a program of the Communication and Information Technology Ministry to convey information to the people living in border areas.

"ANTARA can produce about 1,000 newsitems per day and this can also be used by the Information Village program, too," Saiful Hadi said, adding that the national news agency can also provide training for youths or people involved in the ministry`s program.

The youths can take advantage of the journalistic training administered by ANTARA so that they will be able to encourage the people living in villages to know about the importance of information at regional, national and international levels.

According to the Antara News director, the journalistic training can be expected to enable the youths and people in the program to write news and various information or events in their neighborhood, and in filing the news into the Internet.

ANTARA is also ready to provide trainings on information technology in cooperation with Communication and Information Technology Ministry either at the central or regional levels.

Antara News Agency, established by freedom fighters and nationalists including Adam Malik, Raden Mas Soemanang, Pandu Kartawiguna and Albert Manumpak Sipahutar on 13 December 1937, was given a new legal entity by the government in December 2007 as a state-owned corporation.

The new legal entity replaced its earlier status as state institution under the State Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia, a status it had held since 1962 when President Soekarno took it over to save it from acute internal discord. (ANT/K004)
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