Private television broadcaster Metro TV denied on Wednesday allegations that it had dropped a popular weekend talk show because of the critical tweets made by one of its hosts.
Metro TV news director Tomi Suryopratomo denied the “Talk Indonesia” show was dropped because of Wimar Witoelar’s criticism of the broadcaster’s Libya coverage via micro-blogging site Twitter
Wimar, a former presidential spokesman, hosted the show along with former CNN anchor Dalton Tanonaka and actress Rahayu Saraswati.
“It’s not true that we have dropped Talk Indonesia over Wimar’s statement on Twitter,” Tomi told the Jakarta Globe.
“‘Talk Indonesia’ is a weekend program, and we are conducting a review of our weekend programming because we have not reviewed it since Metro TV first started,” Tomi said.
A similar review had already been carried out on the television station’s weekday programs, he continued.
Tomi said Metro TV was aiming to present more leisurely and less serious programs for the weekends.
“We present serious programs to our audience every day. Therefore, we want to reorganize our morning to midnight programs with edutainment programs for the weekend,” he said.
He also said Wimar “is a guest on the Talk Indonesia show, so he can be replaced anytime.”
Wimar told the Jakarta Globe the problem began when he sent a Twitter message commenting on the station’s “Editorial Pagi” program.
“I said that what they said on the ‘Editorial Pagi’ show was different from what their field reporter in Libya, Andini Effendi, reported,” Wimar said.
“I said at that time, ‘How come “Editorial Pagi” is one-sided? Why is Qaddafi, who had been considered a bandit for 41 years, suddenly regarded as a hero after the air strikes? Why is the United States being blamed?’”
He said a meeting of the television station’s management found the tweet insulting to Metro TV’s owner, Surya Paloh, even though his name was never mentioned in the tweets.
Metro TV later asked him to send a tweet apologizing to the broadcaster, he said.
“There is no contract or payment for me for doing this show. OK, they gave me money for gasoline, but it’s not much. I did the show because I liked doing it and I’m a friend of Dalton. This is a laid-back show and we talk about thing,” he said.
“Talk Indonesia” had tackled hot news topics each week in English since November 2010.