The Press Council of Indonesia is moving ahead with plans to require big tech companies to pay news outlets for content.
Council head of inter-institutional relations Agus Sudibyo on Wednesday handed an academic paper on the issue to Communications and Information Technology Minister Johnny G Plate, reports The Jakarta Post.
The move comes as the Indonesian government is looking to draft a regulation on the matter. Under the proposed regulation, big internet firms would be required to pay news outlets for content, addressing the years-old complaint of publishers that have been losing advertising revenue to online aggregators.
The Press Council believes that this would provide a much-needed boost to the country’s struggling media industry. At present, most media outlets in Indonesia are heavily reliant on advertising revenue, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The draft regulation seeks to tackle a variety of concerns, such as requirements for aggregators like Google and Facebook to negotiate payments with publishers, as well as algorithms in digital media.
“This is a step further to realize the regulation of publishers’ rights in Indonesia. Platforms need to respect copyright and national media copyrights and [support] quality journalism,” said Usman Kansong, director general of information and public communication, Communications and Information Technology Ministry.
Usman also cited the example of Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code, which has succeeded in increasing media revenue by 30%. Earlier this month, Canada also introduced a bill that would require social media companies to pay for news content.
The Indonesian government is currently seeking input from various stakeholders on the draft regulation. Minister Plate further said that State Secretariat will need to approve the regulation before it is passed. The drafting process will also be assisted by the public and media sustainability task force, if the draft goes to the next stage. Once finalized, it will be submitted to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for approval.
Around the world, governments are taking a tougher stance on the power of Big Tech. China has been hardline, reasserting control over its freewheeling internet sector with a regulatory crackdown that has upended the country’s tech industry. After the crackdown last year, internet giants Alibaba and Tencent reported a fall in profits and slowing revenue growth.