Fri, 19 Aug 1994

Indonesia will continue forestry ads overseas

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Forestry Community (MPI) will continue advertising in other countries to inform people of Indonesia's sustainable forestry development, in spite of a recent suspension of television commercials in Britain.

"The suspension of commercials in Britain has been related to political purposes and no other countries have suspended advertisements on the management of Indonesian forests," MPI Chairman Mohammad (Bob) Hasan was quoted by Antara as saying here yesterday.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) of Britain has suspended controversial commercials paid for by the MPI, following complaints from a number of viewers and environmental groups.

Terry Brookes, the project coordinator of Down to Earth, a London-based non-governmental organization, told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview last weekend that ITC had decided to ban the ad because of its "unrealistically positive picture of forestry practice in Indonesia."

Bob said yesterday that MPI faces no problems in putting advertisements in the United States, Germany, France, Japan and other countries.

Similar commercials are currently also being shown on Dutch TV, CNN International, CNN of the United States, the Hong Kong- based Star TV, which broadcasts its satellite channel all over Asia, including to Indonesia, as well as on Indonesian channels, which include TVRI, RCTI, SCTV, TPI and ANteve.


The MPI's executive director, A. Tjipto Wignjoprajitno, said that the ITC apparently alleged Indonesia of using the commercials to divert the world attention from the human rights issue in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony integrated into Indonesia in 1976.

Brookes quoted the ITC as saying that the ad was suspended because the claims it made were not justified and that it was in breach of the ITC Code of Advertising Standards and Practices which forbids political advertising.

The ad says that clearcutting of forests in Indonesia is not permitted and that 280 million acres, or 79 percent of the forested land, has been classified as a vast permanent forest.

Minister of Forestry Djamaloedin Soeryohadikoesoemo told reporters yesterday that the short statements at the ad had apparently caused misunderstanding to viewers.

"I have asked the MPI to revise the statements," he said.

Bob said the fact that a search and rescue team found difficulties in discovering a helicopter which crashed recently in an East Kalimantan forest indicates that Indonesian forests are still thick and in a very good condition.(riz)