Meta Rejects the Draft Presidential Decree on Quality Journalism
Meta plans to limit the spread of news content from Indonesia on Facebook and Instagram if the government issues a Presidential Regulation on Quality Journalism.
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JAKARTA, KOMPAS — The digital platform Meta has rejected the draft Presidential Regulation on Sustainable Journalism, also known as publisher rights. They threatened to block news content from Indonesia on all their platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.
Director of Public Policy of Meta Regional Southeast Asia, Rafael Frankel, stated that they cannot implement the obligation proposed in the draft presidential regulation. They requested the government to reconsider the matter.
"This regulation will not succeed. It will impact the news displayed on Facebook in Indonesia. Just like what we did in Canada. We really don't want to reach that point," said Rafael on Thursday (10/8/2023) afternoon."
There are at least eight obligations for digital platforms in this draft presidential regulation. Among them are to prevent the commercialization of content that does not comply with journalistic standards, remove news that does not meet journalistic standards as ordered by the Press Council, provide transparency of user activity data to media companies, not display recycled news without permission, and comply with taxation provisions like companies operating in Indonesia.
There are also provisions regarding revenue sharing between platforms and press companies. This agreement can be made between one or a combination of press companies with digital platforms. The mechanism will be regulated by the Press Council.
However, according to Rafael, all news content on Facebook is not taken by them, but rather voluntarily uploaded by mass media or news content providers. This makes it easier for news publishers to distribute their news content to a wider audience, while also generating profits from every audience that views the news.
Therefore, he believes that news publishers will be disadvantaged if the Sustainable Journalism Presidential Regulation is issued. This is because Meta will become very selective in determining the content that can be published on Facebook or Instagram.
On the other hand, based on Facebook data, in recent years news content is no longer something that people search for on Facebook. Users are no longer interested in reading news through Facebook, so it is no longer the main source of income for Meta. Currently, the audience enjoys more content from creators in the form of short videos.
"We have repeatedly discussed with the government in drafting this presidential regulation. With the Ministry of Communication and Information, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and the State Secretary. And in those discussions, we are consistent with our view that this policy cannot be implemented," he said.
Meta Indonesia Public Policy Manager Noudhy Valdryno added, his party asked the government to be transparent in the process of forming this regulation. All parties must be involved to find the best middle ground. Moreover, the number of Facebook users in Indonesia reached 119.9 million people, the third largest after India and the United States.
"We have conveyed some of our views and objections. This must be done openly and fairly to everyone," said Noudhy.
Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy of Google Asia Pacific, Michaela Browning, stated on July 25, 2023, calling for similar action. Google considers this regulation will limit press freedom and content creators in Indonesia.
Also read: Meta Cannot Fix Facebook Image
When contacted separately, Agus Sudibyo, a lecturer at the Indonesian Television Academy (ATVI) in Jakarta, said on Friday (11/8/2023) that with the large number of Meta product users in Indonesia, the government has a strong bargaining power to issue a Sustainable Journalism Presidential Regulation in order to create a new balance point for the country's media.
"In the platform, journalistic content is considered the best compared to non-journalistic content. So this is reciprocal, we depend on content distribution, and they also depend on better content. Both relationships should be mutually beneficial, that is the spirit of the Publishers Right Presidential Regulation," said Agus."
A similar regulation has been implemented in several countries, such as Australia, in the form of a law. Canada and South Korea have also followed the same policy. They require Google and Meta to pay for news content published on their platforms.
This price agreement was made directly between the platform and the local press company. If negotiations fail, the price will be determined by an independent arbitrator. In addition, digital platforms are also required to report changes to their algorithms to the press company so that they can select what kind of news will be uploaded to the platform.
News publishers will suffer if the Perpres on Sustainable Journalism is issued. This is because Meta will be very selective in determining the content that can be published on Facebook or Instagram.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Press Council, Ninik Rahayu, stated during the National Dialogue and Working Meeting of the 77th Anniversary of the Indonesian Press Union (SPS) on Thursday, August 10th, 2023 that press companies must adapt to the digital disruption without sacrificing the quality of journalistic work. Press companies are also required to improve the competencies of journalists and human resources, beyond mere competency testing of journalists.
"In order for the media to survive, it is necessary to have technology to innovate in order to continue producing quality journalism," said Ninik.
In the same dialogue, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi stated that his party had submitted a draft of presidential regulation to President Joko Widodo. He ensured that input from all parties would be accommodated fairly.
"This regulation aims to create a fair playing field and create a healthier media ecosystem to support quality journalism and respect press freedom," said Budi. (Kompas.id, 10/8/2023).
Also read: A Winding Road to Quality Journalism