Jakarta – Saying that the financial distress faced by Indonesia's media industry has reached a disastrous level, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin called for global tech giants to strike a fair deal with local media outlets under a publisher-rights agreement.
Ma'ruf also pledged that the government would push for a regulation that would allow Indonesian media to get payments for their contents from tech giants distributing contents, as has been implemented in Australia.
"I will order a study on a benchmark from other countries that have implemented this. We should see their model and if possible, we can come up with a better model [than that of Australia]," Ma'ruf told a meeting with leaders of national-media outlets on Wednesday.
The 79-year old Vice President said that such a deal would not only save the media industry, but allow it to thrive in the future.
"Not only that, I want media outlets to escape sakaratul maut [certain death]; I want them to have a hayatan thoyyiban [prosperous life]," the former chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said.
Ma'ruf claimed that he organized the Wednesday meeting after learning that the Republika Daily, which is widely read by the Indonesian Muslim community, would stop publishing its print edition starting on Jan. 2, 2023.
"This is a great loss, because Republika has been the primary reading material for Muslims in the country. If there's no print edition, what will they read?" Ma'ruf queried.
Responding to Ma'ruf's statement, Republika's chief editor Irfan Junaidi said the decision to stop printing was made because the business environment was getting more treacherous in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Not only that, we saw ads money being siphoned off by tech giants; the infrastructure for producing and distributing print products was simply not there," Irfan said.
The government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has expressed its support for a draft regulation that would make news aggregators on digital platforms pay publishers for displayed content, in a move aimed at providing a level playing field between domestic-news industries and digital platforms
The proposed regulation, which was drafted by the Press Council and media associations, was designed to address the complaint of publishers that have been losing advertising revenue to online aggregators. They claim tech giants are benefiting from using news content in search results or other features without providing the publishers proper compensation.