Voice of America’s Indonesian language service and the state broadcaster of Indonesia signed a formal agreement on July 7 to provide each other news and information content, as well as radio broadcasts and web content.
U.S. Agency for Global Media Acting CEO Kelu Chao inked the partnership in March, while M. Rohanudin, president of Radio Republik Indonesia, signed the memorandum of understanding during a the July 7 virtual event , connecting Jakarta and Washington, D.C., finalizing the agreement.
Amid a partial COVID-19 lockdown in Jakarta and pandemic protocols in the U.S., VOA and RRI broadcasting executives each attended the virtual event from their respective offices and homes. Acting Director for VOA Programming John Lippman was the highest ranking VOA official present, recalling his 2019 visit to Jakarta in his remarks, as leaders from both broadcasting agencies suggested the information sharing will help improve understanding between the two countries.
The broadcasters will share content such as news reports and photos on each other’s radio broadcasts and web sites. In addition, they will collaborate in launching a joint news and information radio program.
VOA Indonesian Service Chief Ade Astuti Kidwell said collaboration on radio programs and on the Indonesian streaming site, RRI Net which is available on OTT, had begun prior to the agreement’s formal signing. Some of the first coverage provided by VOA Indonesian included live reports during the 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign.
Following the formal signing, a VOA Indonesian reporter appeared live on RRI Net on Hurricane Elsa which was expected to make landfall on the U.S. mainland, the first such broadcast under the partnership.
“This is an example of the VOA model, acting as the ‘Washington bureau’ for language service affiliates around the world,” said Kidwell.
Under the memorandum, VOA also will provide training and information on best practices in news reporting and broadcast journalism, as well as hosting journalists and executives from RRI for visits and fellowships in Washington, D.C. RRI will host VOA journalists and executives in Jakarta.
VOA retains final approval on editorial content. The agreement requires all content used by VOA on its broadcast and digital platforms to adhere to VOA’s Editorial Guidelines and Best Practices.
Both organizations expect the arrangement to enhance reporting for their respective audiences. VOA Indonesian, with 55 hours weekly on radio and 10 hours of TV programming, has a weekly audience of 36.5 million.
Radio Republik Indonesia is the state broadcaster with a network equivalent of 224 radio stations and an estimated audience of 45 million listeners.