Muchlis L. Usman

Ashoka Fellow
Kendari, SG, Indonesia
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Muchlis L. Usman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Muchlis is pioneering a movement of community-based television across Indonesia. Established in 2003, Kendari TV is currently attracting 85 percent of its target audience, while dismissing the myth that setting up a television station is too expensive for citizens to do on a limited budget. Ordinary people are now using this powerful media as a tool in their communities where they can own, design, and use their information to develop effective citizenry.

Kendari TV is a start-up organization that uses the resources available in the community. Muchlis’ passion is to create a new pattern in television broadcast, where the driving motive is not profit, but for people to be active participants in issues that have an impact on their daily lives. Through active programming, in which more than 50 percent of the programming is on public dialogue, news, and social issues that provide a venue for the citizen to become an active audience, he has been able to create a strong social investment and maintain independence from commercial networks. Kendari TV has therefore been able to sustain its programming for the past six years due to strong public ownership which reinforces community participation.

Muchlis has used this success as a platform for replicating eight TV stations in four big islands, training other citizen organizations (COs) to build their own community television networks. An exception is a local government station that buys programming from Kendari TV. To further speedy development of community TV, Muchlis established the Indonesian Association of Community Television (ASTEKI), in 2008, along with other COs in Kalimantan and Sumatra that had already replicated his Kendari model. Through support from Free Voice, Kendari TV has also shared its successful model with COs in Asia and Africa.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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