Sat, 27 Jul 1996

Indosat wants Partyline ads blocked

JAKARTA (JP): PT Indosat, the state-owned telecommunications provider, wants all advertisements for call-back services -- widely known as Partyline -- to be blocked.

In an official letter, a copy of which was sent to The Jakarta Post yesterday, Indosat spokesman J.B. Basuki called on electronic and printed media to drop such advertisements. According to Basuki, the advertisements could lead to negative things like pornography, which in the end might damage the young generation's morality.

Advertising agencies, however, say there is no legal basis to block the advertisements. Rina Purwadi, the account manager of Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency, said that Indosat's policy was unfair.

She told the Post yesterday she saw no violations of rules or advertisement ethics from the advertisements placed by the operator of the Partyline.

Rina said Indosat should have proof that the call-back services are damaging the morals of the young generation.

Indosat also said that the Partyline service is being run by an operator based in Stockholm, Sweden. "The identity of the Swedish operator is not clear," Basuki said.

Indosat and privately-owned PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia (Satelindo) had earlier announced that they considered the illegal call-back service being run by overseas firms a major headache for the international call business.

"Indosat is not involved in the advertisements, but it will charge Rp 6,180 (US$2.6) per minute for each call," Basuki said two weeks ago.

Indosat recorded at least 13,364 calls to the Swedish numbers, with total telephone traffic charges of Rp 379.48 million from March to May this year.

Another advertisement expert, who requested anonymity, said there is nothing wrong with the call-back service advertisement. "I work for a local paper. I did thorough research before I accepted the Partyline advertisement in my paper, as I saw no violation of advertising ethics," he said.

A woman who had taken part in Partyline conversations for some time said she experienced no pornography during the talks.

"Most of the callers were men. But we never talked about dirty things," she said. "Before we joined the talks, we were told not to say dirty words or to talk about pornographic subjects." (sur)