JAKARTADAILY.ID – Google's Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy for APAC, Michaela Browning, has expressed concerns over the latest draft of a news regulation in Indonesia, stating that if implemented without changes, it could jeopardize the future of news media in the country.
In a blog post, Browning shared Google's commitment to supporting a sustainable, independent, and diverse news ecosystem. However, the company fears that the proposed regulation could restrict public access to diverse news sources and give excessive powers to a single, non-government body to control online content and advertising revenue for publishers.
Google's mission is to make information universally accessible and useful, but the current draft of the news regulation could hinder their ability to provide relevant and authoritative information to Indonesian users. This may also affect the work they have done to support the news industry in Indonesia, leading them to reassess the viability of their programs and news products in the country.
Since the proposal was first introduced in 2021, Google and YouTube have engaged with the government, regulators, industry bodies, and press associations to advise on the regulation's workability and potential impact. Despite their efforts, the proposed regulation, if passed as is, could have significant negative consequences on the digital news ecosystem.
The key impacts of the proposed regulation, as highlighted by Google, include:
1. Limiting news available online: The regulation may favor a limited set of news publishers, leaving out thousands of other publishers, including smaller ones under the Serikat Media Siber Indonesia (SMSI). This would reduce the plurality of opinions online and result in less impartial and relevant information for Indonesians.
2. Putting media and news creators in jeopardy: Despite the initial goal of supporting a healthy news industry, the current draft would negatively impact a vast number of publishers and creators who are transforming and innovating. The new powers granted to a single, non-government body could limit which content can be shown on Google's platforms, benefiting only select traditional publishers.
Google and YouTube have been active in supporting Indonesia's digital news ecosystem, sending over one billion visits to Indonesian news organizations per month in 2022 at no charge, helping them generate revenue through ads and subscriptions.
Over the years, Google has invested in various efforts to support news publishers, offering training programs and digital skills to journalists and journalism students across the country. On YouTube, they share ad revenues with eligible news publishers, allowing them to retain a significant share of earnings from the content they produce.
While Google is disappointed with the direction of the proposed regulation, they remain hopeful to reach a workable solution and are committed to engaging with all stakeholders. They want to explore approaches that support a balanced news ecosystem in Indonesia, delivering quality news for everyone and allowing all news publishers, regardless of size, to thrive.
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