Wimar Gone But Metro Does Not Pull Talk Show Over Tweet

The Jakarta Globe

Television news station Metro TV says the English-language show “Talk Indonesia” will remain on the air, after a co-host alleged it was being dropped over a critical tweet he had posted.

The show aired on Saturday as usual — but without Wimar Witoelar, a former presidential spokesperson for Gus Dur who appears to have been dropped from the show without a formal announcement.

The broadcaster previously said the show, hosted by former CNN anchor Dalton Tanonaka, actress Rahayu Saraswati and formerly Wimar, would be axed as part of a revamp of the station’s weekend lineup.

On Friday, however, Metro TV news director Tomi Suryopratomo said an evaluation had been completed and the decision had been made to keep “Talk Indonesia” on the air.

“This is the nature of television as a media,” Tomi said on Friday.

“We have to evaluate our program lineup. It’s not something unusual for the media, even CNN conducts reviews of its programs.”

Tomi had previously denied a claim by Wimar that the station was considering scrapping the show because of a Twitter message that Wimar wrote criticizing what he perceived as Metro TV’s skewed coverage of the Libya conflict.

Wimar claimed the station misconstrued the criticism — which questioned why Metro TV’s editorial team was supportive of Muammar el-Qaddafi following the air strikes by Western forces, when previously he had been considered a “bandit” — as being targeted at station owner Surya Paloh.

On Friday, Wimar welcomed Metro TV’s decision to retain the show.

“I never insulted Surya Paloh in my Twitter posts. You can audit them if you want, there’s nothing in my statements that insults him,” he said.

“There’s someone at Metro TV who doesn’t want me there, so they claimed that I insulted Suryo Paloh in my tweet.

“Instead of making false accusations like that, they could have just told me nicely they no longer wanted me to be part of the team. I’d have no objections to that.”

He added he had laughed when he found out “it was Surya Paloh’s request to keep airing ‘Talk Indonesia’ out of respect for the audience.”

However, Tomi said the show was not one of the station’s more popular programs.

“ ‘Talk Indonesia’ is one program that doesn’t generate high ratings because it’s a very segmented program,” he said.

“However, it was the programming department’s decision to evaluate and develop the program, including choosing who would be the guests on the program.”

“Talk Indonesia” has tackled hot news topics each week in English since being launched in November 2010.

Tomi previously said Metro TV was aiming to present more leisurely and less serious programs on the weekends.

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