National Press Day, President Jokowi awards members of Indonesian press

President Joko Widodo’s address during National Press Day 2021 celebrations, Tuesday (09/02/2021). (Photo: Biro Pers Istana)

IO – The theme for the celebration of National Press Day 2021 was “Recovering from the Pandemic: Jakarta as the Gateway to Economic Recovery, with the Press as Accelerator for Change”. The peak of celebrations was held in the Presidential Palace on 9 February 2021, when President Joko Widodo wished all pressmen and women in the country a good National Press Day. He took the opportunity to thank the press for its contribution to education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Happy Press Day to all press workers in Indonesia no matter where they are. I am aware that during the pandemic, my friends of the press continue to work and remain in the frontline of news reporting. I express my most sincere thanks to you all for having helped the Government educate the people in implementing health protocols and in providing them with true and accurate information,” said the President during his address in the virtual National Press Day 2021 celebrations held in the Presidential Palace. “Despite the dangers of the pandemic, you continue to fearlessly report all developments to the situation. Now, as before, the national press has faithfully bridged communication between the Government and the people.”

The peak event of the Press Day Celebrations held at Bentar Temple, Ancol, Jakarta, was attended by participants from all over Indonesia with due strict consideration of health protocols. This year’s celebration was also the biggest so far, because it was attended by more than 5,000 virtual attendees in various locations. Physically present at the Presidential Palace were Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”) of RI Bambang Soesatyo, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) of RI Puan Maharani, Speaker of the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah – “DPD”) of RI La Nyalla Mattalitti, Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny Gerard Plate, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Governor of DKI Jakarta Anies Baswedan, Chairman of the Press Council Muhammad Nuh, and Chairman of the Indonesian Journalist Association Atal Sembiring Depari.

A number of national media and journalists received awards during the celebration, including Adinegoro Journalistic Award (Anugerah Jurnalistik Adinegoro, the highest award bestowed on national journalism for dedication to public interest), Cultural Award (Anugerah Kebudayaan, award for journalism that best preserves and promotes national culture), and the Golden Pen Award (Pena Emas, award granted for best writing). The Head of the COVID-19 Mitigation Task Force, Doni Monardo, is a nonpress worker who was also awarded during the celebration with the Freedom of the Press Golden Medal for his work in liaising with the press in general and journalists in particular in a number of COVID-19 pandemic socializing programs.

Jokowi admits that the press industry is also strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, he describes what the Government will  do  to  help:  “I  know  that  the press industry, just like any other privately owned business sectors, is  suffering  from  business  problems, financial problems. Like the Head of the Indonesian Journalists’ Association, this is far from being easy.  Therefore,  the  Government attempts to lighten the load of the media industry. Article 21 Income Tax for media crew is now included in the list of taxes borne by the Government. In other words, media taxes are being paid by the Government until June 2021,” he said.

Jokowi went on to request the Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani to administer this policy. “I am now requesting the Minister of Finance to monitor and enforce this policy properly. Furthermore, Institutional Income Tax for the media industry will be reduced, Article 22 Import Income Tax will be waived, and to accelerate restitutions and incentives. All this will also apply up to June 2021,” he said. “Furthermore, the media industry will also be freed of electricity bills for the moment. We cannot provide much help to lighten the load of the media industry and crew, but we hope this will help anyway.”

He further promised to set aside vaccines for the Indonesian media. “I have made a preliminary discussion with Prof. Nuh – he said that he can prepare 5,000 doses of vaccine for media crews by the end of February to early March,”

Jokowi said. “The Government has set aside the budget for COVID-19 vaccine expenditures, and we plan to provide for the media a bit later. We are currently focusing on vaccinating health workers and public service workers, including market sellers, who are at the frontlines of community service.”