Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia On the 2021 National Press Day Commemoration, Tuesday, 9 February 2021 at the State Palace, Jakarta Province
Date 9 Februari 2021
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR RI);
Distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR RI);
Distinguished Speaker of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD RI);
Distinguished Cabinet Ministers;
Your Excellencies Ambassadors of friendly countries;
Distinguished Governor of Jakarta and Governors attending the event virtually;
Distinguished Chairperson of the Press Council;
Distinguished Chairperson of the PWI (Indonesian Journalists Association) Mr. Atal Sembiring Depari;
Distinguished national press figures and Indonesian journalists;
Ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations on Press Day to all Indonesian journalists. I am aware that in this ongoing pandemic, journalists are still working on the frontline to report the updated situation, become a communication bridge between the Government and the people, maintain optimism, and maintain hope.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all journalists for helping the Government to educate the public to implement health protocols and to help the public to obtain correct and accurate information.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am aware that the press is also facing tough times in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We all know that health and economic problems are burdening all countries, including our country Indonesia.
I know that the press industry, like other private sectors, is also facing business and financial problems, which are not easy, as previously stated by Head of the PWI.
To that end, the Government is working to ease the burden on the media industry. The income tax for journalists has been included in the list of taxes borne by the Government. It means that the taxes are paid by the Government. The policy applies until June 2021. I have ordered Minister of Finance to monitor the implementation of the policy.
The media industry is also entitled to a reduction of corporate income tax, import tax exemption and an acceleration of restitution and incentives. The policy also applied until June 2021. The incentives given to other industries are also provided to the media industry, including the exemption of electricity subscription.
The relief and assistance given to the media industry and journalists are indeed not enough. I am aware of it. I need to say that the Government’s fiscal is also facing a high pressure. Apart from dealing with health problems, it is also difficult to maintain the economy when the private sector is experiencing a significant slowdown. One of the major expenditures that the Government spends is vaccines. And currently the Government is working hard to get the vaccines for vaccination.
I believe that the journalists are ready to be vaccinated. I have told Prof. Nuh (Chairperson of the Press Council) that in late February to early March, we have prepared about 5,000 doses of vaccine for the journalists. This is part of the first batch of the vaccination. Out of 12 million doses produced by Bio Farma, 5,000 doses are provided for the journalists. We are currently focusing on vaccinating health workers and public servants, including traders in traditional market who are at the forefront of services to the community.
I also believe that the media industry is under pressure with the massive and fast development of social media. I agree that convergence and a fair level playing field are needed. Some of the aspirations have been accommodated in the Job Creation Law and its newly-issued Government Regulation, namely Government Regulation on Post, Telecommunication and Broadcasting. However, the Government is still open to aspirations of the journalists.
I will give orders to relevant ministers on the matters regarding the draft regulation on protecting publisher rights so that economic benefits can be enjoyed in a balanced manner between conventional media and Over The Top (OTT), namely services via the internet.
I would like to say that the Job Creation Law also regulates the digitalization of broadcasting and it needs to be optimized by the media industry. I have also received reports that a Ministerial Regulation has been issued regulating the governance of electronic system administrators in the private sphere. This rule sets the balance between the development of digital economy and data sovereignty. This is also intended to increase the convergence between conventional media and digital platforms.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Government continues to open itself to input from members of the press. The press services are very important for the progress of the nation today and in the future. Let us build hope together, voice optimism, and succeed in handling the health crisis and in handling the economic crisis and also achieve many leaps of progress.
I think that concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. (RI/MMB)