Sat, 12 Apr 2003

PWI raises funds for congress

Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Organizers of the 21st Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) congress have been traveling around Central Kalimantan asking for donations from regental administrations across the province.

The chairman of the congress' organizing committee, M. Wahyudie, told Antara on Friday that the regional administration of Murung Raya, South Barito and Pulang Pisau had donated a total of Rp 55 million (US$6,193) to organizers.

Wahyudie, who is the chief editor of Kalteng Pos, said the contributions were obtained during a recent visit to six regencies in the northern part of the province.

During the visit, North Barito Regent Badaruddin promised to provide Rp 15 million for the annual congress. His counterpart in Kapuas, Burhanuddin Ali, also promised financial aid, but did not disclose the amount, while the East Barito administration did not respond to the organizing committee's request.

Wahyudie said the organizing committee would travel south to West Kotawaringin, Lamandau, Sukamara, East Kotawaringin, Seruyan and Katingan regencies for the same purpose early in May.

The congress will be held in the provincial capital of Palangkaraya in October and is scheduled to be opened by President Megawati Soekarnoputri. Some 300 PWI members representing 33 provincial chapters will be invited to the event.

PWI expects to review its statute and elect the chairperson for the 2003/2008 period during the congress.

Wahyudie said the congress would cost Rp 450 million, with Rp 300 million of the budget to be covered by the provincial budget.

During the New Order era, PWI was the only government- sanctioned, and therefore government-controlled, press association. Since the fall of the regime in 1998, the number of press associations has risen to 30, although only a few of them are well organized.

Although it is no longer sanctioned by the government, PWI remains a preferred press organization.