Streaming Media and Journalism Restrictions: A Closing of the Information Window

22 Mei 2024

Online streaming media and investigative journalistic content refer to the delivery of multimedia content to the public as a form of education and entertainment. The term “streaming” refers to the process by which the content is played directly by the user without having to wait for the download process to complete. Outside of the enthusiasm of public for streaming content, Investigative journalism is also one of the top searched category of public’s algorithm.

The number of people who choose to subscribe in order to use online streaming services can be classified as one of the Uses and Gratifications Theory (Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler and Michael Gurevitch. 1973) which states that humans as active recipients of information, tend to choose the easy way in small things by using methods that minimize too much thought in order to reach their desired audience.

Limited content richness, content upload speed, content exclusivity, and instant gratification are some of the factors that cause many individuals to choose the paid option to get subscriptions. In this way. Indonesia has one of the highest percentages of Netflix online streaming media users, 69% or 269.60 million users according to a survey conducted by Katadata.co.id.

The enthusiasm of Indonesians for the content of foreign shows and news outlets due to high demand has influenced streaming apps such as Netflix and some investigative channels such as Kompas or Bisnis.com are pushing the algorithm of available content according to the regionalization of account holders.

However on March 2024, through an online conference, Commission I of the House of Representatives amended the Draft Law (UU) on Amendments to Law No. 32 of 2022 on Online Streaming Broadcasting. According to central KPU commissioner Mimah Susanti, the amendment was made so that there is supervision of online broadcasting as well as conventional broadcasting. Some of the controversial factors of the revision of this law, apart from restrictions on OTT content, which is a type of streaming media-based content transmitted via the Internet, are restrictions on Investigative Journalism.

This rule has the potential to be a restraint on the freedom of the Press in the process of news coverage. In one of the meetings, Member of Commission 1 of the House of Representatives Tubagus Hasanuddin mentioned that the draft Broadcasting Law will still be discussed with the Legislation Body. He advised that there was concern that this could overlap with police investigations, saying that he did not agree with the ban.

The Press Council is of the opinion that the right to regulate broadcasting should be totally handed over to the Indonesian Press Council. Chairwoman of the Press Council Dr. Ninik Rahayu said the ethical issues of journalistic works according to the law should be handled by the Press Council. The mandate of press work issues is in the Press Council and it is based on the law and the need for a harmonization process so that articles between laws do not overlap.

Monitoring mainly applies to several articles such as Article 50B letter c which states that “Broadcast content standards (SIS) contain a prohibition on the exclusive broadcast of investigative journalism”. According to Article 15 paragraph 2 letters c, d, e, of the Press Law “the Press Council has the right to carry out functions such as establishing and supervising the implementation of the journalistic code of ethics”, and Article 8A letter q “Resolving journalistic disputes specifically in the field of broadcasting”.

This revision decision itself is certainly made to provide consideration as a form of supervision of some of these foreign media streaming policies. Restrictions on foreign online streaming services in Indonesia can be considered for several reasons: 

  1. Protection of National Interests: The government may consider it important to protect national interests, including the local media industry, by restricting access to foreign streaming services. This can help encourage consumers to access more local content, which in turn can support the growth of the domestic media industry.

  2. Control over Content and Broadcasting: Governments may also want to have more control over the content that is broadcast to the public. By restricting foreign streaming services, the government can more easily monitor and regulate the content available to consumers in Indonesia, including in terms of compliance with applicable regulations and policies.

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Restrictions on foreign online streaming services can also be controversial, especially in terms of freedom of expression and access to information. Therefore, the decision to impose such restrictions should be balanced with careful consideration of the public interest, freedom of expression, and the potential economic and cultural impacts involved.

Due to the potential for restrictions on online broadcasting such as Netflix and YouTube, as well as restrictions on the journalistic rights of the press, it could lead to the public being left with only ceremonial broadcasts instead of educative, informative and up-to-date broadcasts.

With many media user services as a form of visual entertainment communication and the introduction of some foreign cultures, it is necessary to find a middle point in implementing the revision of the law. The existence of such restrictions can suppress the delivery of information which will indirectly reduce public aspirations for future policies regarding digital media laws and freedom of speech.

 

Reference notes and journal:

(Kornelia Johana / Humas UNDIRA)

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Biro Humas & Sekretariat Universitas Dian Nusantara

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