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Google protests Indonesia's publisher rights regulation

Tempo - July 27, 2023

Riri Rahayu, Jakarta – Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy Google Asia Pacific, Michaela Browning, commented on Indonesia's plan to pass the Publisher Rights Presidential Regulation.

Browning said that the regulation is unworkable if implemented without change since it gave power to non-governmental agencies to determine which content is allowed to appear online and which publisher is allowed to earn revenue from advertising.

"Instead of promoting quality journalism, it could restrict public access to diverse sources of news," she said in a written statement on Google Indonesia's official blog on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

Meanwhile, Browning said, Google's mission is to make information universally accessible and useful. "If signed in its current form, the news regulation in Indonesia could directly impact our ability to provide Indonesians who use our products with relevant, authoritative, diverse sources of information online," she said.

Since the draft regulation was first proposed in 2021, Google and YouTube have advised on the regulation's technical workability, Browning revealed. She appreciated the opportunities to engage with the government, including during the harmonization process. "However, the proposed regulation as drafted would still negatively impact the broader digital news ecosystem," Browning added.

Further, Browning said, the Publisher Rights regulation could threaten the existence of media and news creators despite their importance as the main news source for Indonesians. She believed the draft would grant new powers to a single, non-government body, formed by and including representatives of Dewan Pers, and will only benefit a select number of traditional publishers by limiting which content can be shown on Google platforms.

"While this regulation was initially proposed with the stated goal of supporting a healthy news industry, the current draft would be detrimental to a vast number of publishers and creators who are transforming and innovating," she added.

Browning revealed that Google is disappointed with the direction of the Publisher Rights draft regulation, but they still hope for a workable solution, and to engage with all relevant stakeholders.

"We want to continue to explore approaches that support a balanced news ecosystem in Indonesia – one that delivers quality news for everyone and allows all news publishers, large and small, to thrive," Browning remarked.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Communication and Informatics Nezar Patria said the government continues to search for a middle ground concerning the regulation since Publisher Rights regulation is still in discussion for the main issues.

"First regarding the B2B collaboration, second concerning data, and third on the algorithm (digital platform)," said Nezar on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, quoted from a press release by the ministry.

Nezar said that the government is trying to build a sustainable media industry in the middle of digital disruption since business cooperation between the media industry and digital platforms is necessary.

"Generally, the regulation will stipulate about new content produced by press company. Then the platforms could filter which content is news, and which isn't, and the news is the one commercialized," said Nezar.

The Independent Committee, according to Nezar, is a strategic buffer between the media industry and digital platforms. Meanwhile, the Publisher Rights Presidential Regulation draft has been submitted to the State Secretariat.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1752651/google-protests-indonesias-publisher-rights-regulatio