Indonesia: Journalists and media companies call for stimulus package

Journalist organisations together with media company associations and the Indonesian Press Council have called on the government to support the media, which has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has backed its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia in calling for a relief package to ensure the viability of media companies in the global health crisis.

Media workers holding a protest to promote safety of journalists. Credit: AJI

AJI is part of a task force, consisting of 12 other organisations, which issued a statement on May 15 outlining different ways to support media companies in this crisis. The statement called on central and local governments to allocate funds to media organisation to ensure their survival in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement proposed the government subsidize 20  per cent of the paper procurement and 30 per cent of monthly electricity bills. The media task force also proposed a low-interest loan and suspension of premium payments of employment social security and national health insurance.

The task force also urges the government to maximise tax from global companies operating in Indonesia such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Microsoft.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a downturn in the operation of media companies in the country. Indonesian journalists face salary cuts and layoffs. As of May 17, AJI Jakarta chapter with the Legal Aid for Press Institute have received 89 reports claiming violations of their employment rights. When combined with working condition reports from outside Jakarta, this number would increase significantly.

Abdul Manan, the chairman of AJI Indonesia, said AJI supports the stimulus plan announced by the task force on media sustainability to help media and media workers during the pandemic. “Media plays an essential role in tackling the global health crisis, therefore the government need to launch the relief package to ensure the media can continue to keep the public informed and safe, and to hold the government to account,” Manan added.

The IFJ said: “IFJ has launched Global Platform for Quality Journalism, including proposals for  strong and immediate global stimulus plans to support media workers most affected by this health crisis.  IFJ has backed AJI’s efforts to ensure the survival of independent and accurate reporting particularly during the pandemic.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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