Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 25th Congress of the Indonesian Journalists Association 2023, at the State Palace, Jakarta Special Capital Region, September 25, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
May prosperity be upon us all,
Greeting of Virtue
Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet,
Distinguished Chairwoman of the Press Council Mrs. Ninik Rahayu, leading figures and senior leading figures of the press,
Chairman of the Central Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) Mr. Atal S. Depari and all the Chairpersons of provincial, city and regency PWIs all over Indonesia;
Distinguished Leaders of the Editor-in-Chief Forum, leaders and directors of media companies, all PWI members and congress participants;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. Atal has earlier remarked on next year’s National Press Day (HPN) commemoration in Solo. I have made an offer to convene the event in Nusantara Capital City (IKN). Please choose. The hotel at the new capital will also be ready. God willing, it will be ready. But, don’t let the chairman of PWI Solo say that the HPN commemoration will be relocated to IKN because Solo mayor will be angry with me later.
Secondly, because this congress is now held in Bandung, I make an offer to you to go there this afternoon by the high-speed train. Those coming from the regions will definitely want to try out the train. Last week I tried out the train from Halim Station to Padalarang Station and it took 29 minutes. Then I continued by the feeder bus whose trip took about 13 minutes. So overall it took approximately 45 minutes. Try it out if you want to. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. If you don’t want to, it’s okay.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the big family of Indonesian journalists and press members who have been critical and careful in providing input and criticism to the Government. Although sometimes these criticisms are subtle, vague, and need to be explored more deeply sometimes, we have to know what they really mean, where they lead us to. There are also criticisms that are straight to the point, harsh, sharp. There are many like those too. There are also some that are offside. There are also some whose purpose is not clear, I tell you about the fact just as it is. Yes, that’s okay. In my opinion everything is okay and everything still serves as good medicine and additional energy for the Government, especially as we are getting closer to the political year. Well, more and more of what I have said before will definitely come out.
However, this is precisely PWI’s big role as the oldest and largest journalist organization to maintain the professionalism of the press, to guard the people so that they receive correct, authentic, quality and balanced news, without any clashes of interests. Because nowadays good news should not be the one that just goes viral, not be the one that is only sensational because such news actually triggers the spread of hoaxes that still exist today. I received a report from Minister of Communication and Information that approximately 11 thousand hoaxes are still rampant in the digital world.
We must adhere firmly to the journalistic code of ethics because this is precisely the added value of the media and the press. This is precisely the advantage of the media and the press compared to citizen journalism. Once again, don’t be provoked into unfair competition just because you want to go viral or because of [the urge to spread] hoaxes, and don’t be provoked because you think that being viral, sensational, widely read is so highly important. I think we have to avoid such things.
I do know for sure that the world of journalism, especially the media industry, is currently not doing well. I always hear those issues because more and more challenges are emerging, especially those related to advances in the digital world. And it is not only we who feel this in Indonesia, but all countries also feel the same thing. The world of the press is increasingly facing challenges because we cannot stop this digital world, nor can we tell it to stop.
Like AI (Artificial Intelligence) today, yesterday at the last G20 meeting in India, six countries talked specifically about AI, especially big countries again. And, I noticed that there is a very big fear regarding Artificial Intelligence. And, the laws and the regulations always come late, so that they are always preceded by new things. While we haven’t yet finished learning about one thing, Generative Artificial Intelligence has already emerged. What else is this, whereas we haven’t yet finished learning about one thing. I guess all of you have already learned that nowadays, AI can be used to make scripts, transcripts, narrations, and it can even be used to present news.
Therefore, the big regulatory umbrella concerning digital transformation must be made more holistically. So, the umbrella must cover creative industries and protect our MSMEs from the onslaught of this digital world. This is what the government is working on. We have just had a limited cabinet meeting to decide on social media to be used for e-commerce. It might be released tomorrow because the impact is very powerful. We are only a few months late, but the effects are already everywhere.
Once again, this big regulatory umbrella concerning digital transformation must be made more holistically. And the Government is working on it so that technological development can go in line with what we hope for, what our society hopes for. Technological development should be able to create new economic potential, not killing the existing economy, nor eroding it.
And, finally, concerning publisher rights, we have been discussing this with all stakeholders for a long time. I once said, “Sir, it will take a month at the most to complete it. Sir, we will work day and night.” But in practice it is very complicated. This [part] is okay or generally acceptable but that [section] is not, and after a long time, it doesn’t get finished.
We have been discussing this for a long time and now the process is almost complete, not yet finished, almost finished. Let’s hope that it will take only a little to complete it and there will be no more tug-of-wars nor competing interests. That is what should be improved, and I see that common ground between stakeholders is starting to appear, starting to strengthen, and God willing, this will be completed quickly. And, I know this is a concern for the media and the press.
That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion. And by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, this afternoon I hereby officially opened the 25th Congress of the Indonesian Journalists Association 2023.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.