Indonesia mulls bill that may force big tech to share more revenues with media firms

Google, New York, United States. Photo: Arthur Osipyan/unsplash

Indonesian authorities are assessing a draft bill that could compel tech giants like Facebook and Google to negotiate with media firms for fairer revenues, media groups said on Tuesday, a move inspired by a groundbreaking new Australian law.

Wenseslaus Manggut, chairman of Indonesia’s cyber media association (AMSI), which was involved in drafting the bill, told Reuters the aim was to ensure fairer revenues for outlets that produce core news and “good journalism”.

Algorithms of big tech companies can have a significant impact on income for digital news media, by determining how prominently an article appears in a Google search or on a Facebook news feed.

The draft, seen by Reuters, has yet to go to parliament. It calls for an agency to negotiate between media firms and tech companies, and also requires big tech firms to do more to filter content for hoaxes.

“Under the current ecosystem, clickbait is more profitable,” Wenseslaus said. “It’s hard to keep the integrity of journalism in this ecosystem.”

The Australian law has since March required Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to negotiate with Australian outlets for content that drives traffic and advertising to their websites.

Many small Australian publishers have struggled, however.

Ross Tapsell, a media lecturer at the Australian National University, said the bill would be more advantageous to bigger industry players with political connections.

“Ultimately the concern is the smaller, independent media companies – whose mission is public interest journalism – may not benefit from this arrangement,” he said.

About half of Indonesia’s digital advertising revenues go to Facebook and Google, according to Amir Suherlan, an advertising expert and managing director of the agency Wavemaker Indonesia.

Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the bill.

Usman Kansong, from Indonesia’s communications ministry, said the bill could ensure better revenues for “quality” media organisations, but it was unclear if it would be standalone legislation, or incorporated into an existing law.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.