Taiwan Buddhist group to launch TV station in Indonesia

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Nov 10, 2006

Taipei, Taiwan -- A Taiwan Buddhist group plans to launch a television station in Muslim Indonesia to encourage Indonesians to care for poor people in their country, the group said Friday.

'We have obtained licence from the Indonesian government to launch a TV station which will be a branch of our Da-Ai [Big Love] TV,' said Ke Chuan-fu, a spokesman for Da-Ai TV, run by the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Because Indonesia bars the use of the same name, the station in Indonesia is to be called DAI TV, Ke said.

DAI TV began a daily one-hour trial broadcast in the Indonesian language in October and will be formally launched in February, he said.

'In the initial stage, we will produce a four-hour programme which will be repeated throughout the day,' Ke added. 'We will broadcast to 20 million households in Jakarta and Medan but will later expand our service to Surabuya and Bandung.'

To stay clear of politics, DAI TV plans to keep its news coverage to a minimum and instead will report on Tzuchi's effort to help the poor in Indonesia and to encourage Indonesians to help the disadvantaged. It will also air programmes made in Taiwan but dubbed in Indonesian.

The Tzu Chi Foundation was founded by Cheng Yen, 68, nicknamed Taiwan's Mother Teresa, in 1966 and has tens of thousands of members in 28 countries. It has provided cash and relief materials to flood, earthquake and hurricane-stricken countries all over the world and built Big Love Villages for poor people in China, Iran, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, El Salvador and Paraguay.

Last year, the foundation built a Big Love Village for 3,700 families and five schools in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Banda Aceh was the area worst-hit in the December 26, 2004, tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean countries.