President Joko Widodo demanded that the Ministry of Communication and Information along with the Press Council and press industry associations can finalize a draft for regulation concerning publishers’ rights can be finalized within one month. This was expressed by the president during his speech at the National Press Day commemoration, February 9, 2023, in Medan, North Sumatera.
According to the president, authentic journalism is facing unprecedented disruption due to rapid development of social media and digital media, especially when major algorithms of those media are often designed with heavier tendency on the commercial aspects. This, said the President, led to the flooding of sensational instead of quality information within society. Conventional media also has to cope with the reality that more that 60% share of advertising budgets has been taken by digital media. This situation also poses threats against national data security and sovereignty.
Concern about the need for a publishers’ rights regulation has been voiced by the President since the last three years. Substantially speaking, the President intended for such regulation to make it mandatory for digital platforms to cooperate with local press in order to support the sustainability of quality journalism.
There was a long discussion on how such regulation should take form. While the president himself in 2022 stated that he shall leave it to the national press to reach an agreement on whether the regulation is in the form of legislated law, legislative amendment, or government regulation; it was later agreed by the involved stakeholders that the regulation would be issued as an presidential regulation considering the speediness as well as flexibility nature of the format.
Lately, as of March 3, 2023, the Press Council admitted that a draft for the presidential regulation had been submitted to the President and is currently under finalization process moderated by the Ministry of Communication and Information. According the published version of the draft, local press would be able to negotiate on how much digital platforms shall pay for using their news and media content. In the case of no agreement is reached by both parties after two months since the start of negotiation, the government shall intervene by appointing a judge to settle the matter.
In a separate occasion, a Ministry of Communication and Informatics official stated that following President’s demand his ministry had also talked with major digital platforms such as Google, Facebook and TikTok regarding the proposed regulation and invited them to submit their comments and input to be considered in further discussion with other stakeholders.
While the government is looking forward to hearing from the platforms, the official however also emphasized that the government has also anticipated and prepared for a worse scenario should those giant platforms decide to abandon their business in Indonesia due to disagreement to the proposed royalty provisions. Similar situation had happened before in Australia, where local users could not access, post and share news from their Facebook accounts for some times due to both platforms’ opposition against the country’s publishers’ regulation.