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Cox Peninsula transmitter: flick of switch gets truth into Indonesia.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Vicki Bourne

Australian Democrats

Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs

 

29 September 1999

99/506

 

 

Cox Peninsula Transmitter:

Flick of switch gets truth into Indonesia

 

The Australian Government must immediately re-open the Radio Austr alia transmitter on the Cox Peninsula to respond to a campaign of anti-Australian propaganda being waged in Indonesia, say the Australian Democrats.

 

Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Senator Vicki Bourne, said that current leased transmitter arrangements are inadequate to counter fabricated stories of atrocities committed by Australian troops that have been circulating in the Indonesian media.

 

“At a time when there has never been a greater need for Radio Australia to reach the ordinary Indonesian people, it can only be pigheadedness that prevents the Government from re-opening this vital transmitter,” Senator Bourne said.

 

“The Indonesian military is conducting a deliberate campaign of misinformation about the situation in East Timor. This is contributing directly to worsening perceptions of Australia among the people of Indonesia. It is imperative that an alternative account be offered to our Indonesian neighbours.

 

“Currently, Radio Australia is only able to broadcast one hour of English language news and current affairs and one hour of Indonesian language current affairs and news each day into most of Indonesia.”

 

“This is simply insufficient to allow Australian attitudes and policies to be communicated to the Indonesian people in a reputable and accurate way,” Senator Bourne said.

 

Radio Australia is broadcasting to East Timor and Eastern Indonesia from its transmitter at Shepparton in Victoria, but that transmitter is unable to reach the population centres of Central and Western Indonesia. To reach the rest of Indonesia, including Jakarta itself, the station has been forced to hire expensive offshore transmitters over which it has no control. Meanwhile, the transmitter at Cox Peninsula, which could do the job cheaply and effectively, sits idle.

 

“I have campaigned for three years to have the Cox Peninsula transmitter re-opened and Radio Australia transmitted in strength in our region. I fear now that the only reason that the Government will not take this crucial step is a pigheaded inability to admit that they have been wrong,” Senator Bourne said.

 

“All we have to do is replace a couple of parts, set up the computer and flick the switch. It would take less than a week. It’s that easy to get the truth about Australia into Indonesia.”

 

For further information: Senator Vicki Bourne (02) 6277 3820 or 0418 861 098 Copies of Senator Bourne’s speech on Cox Peninsula are available upon request.

 

 

att  1999-10-01  12:50