Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Joko Widodo (Jokowi), a furniture businessman who turned into a politician, has become a media darling since he rose to the national politic arena in 2013.

His rapid rise from being Solo`s mayor (2005-2012) to Jakarta`s governor (2012-2014), and later as Indonesia`s seventh president (since October 2014), was also partly thanks to the media that was mostly fond of him.

In April 2015, the then chairman of the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI) Margiono presented Jokowi a jacket with a text that read "Media Darling" on the left side.

During the 2019 National Press Day celebration held in Surabaya, East Java, on Feb 9, 2019, Jokowi received a Press Freedom medal from Chairman of the Press Council (Dewan Pers) Yosep Stanley Adi Prasetyo.

"We convey our congratulations and laud the president, who has been playing a major role in the press world so far," Prasetyo noted in his remarks.

The Press Freedom medal is the highest award bestowed by the press community on an individual or institution that has contributed significantly towards the interest of the press, he remarked.

Jokowi responded by saying that he felt proud and grateful to the press in Indonesia for trusting him to receive the award.

The government has, so far, guaranteed press freedom and accepted various forms of constructive criticism as a means of social control, he added.

"I also invite the press to strengthen its identity as a source of information that is accurate and trustworthy and always strengthens its identity to continue to educate the public," Jokowi noted.

Earlier, he remarked that he was glad to witness that the public has laid greater trust in the conventional media than social media.

"Frankly speaking, I am very happy with such a situation. Congratulations to the press that remains highly trusted by the public," Jokowi revealed.

It is not easy to win the public`s trust amid competition in the era of rampant growth in social media that is spreading information, he remarked.

Based on data, the public`s trust in conventional media reached 59 percent as compared to 45 percent in the social media in 2016. However, in 2017, the public`s trust in conventional media reached 58 percent, and that of the social media reached 42 percent.

In 2018, the conventional media won 63 percent of the public`s trust, and the social media won 40 percent, Jokowi pointed out.

"Viewed from the data, the public trust (in the conventional media) has increased from year to year. It should be maintained," he noted.

In the current era of social media, anyone could become a journalist and chief editor. However, it is sometimes misused to create chaos and even spread pessimism and fear, he added.

The president regretted the fact that when the government conveyed good news, it was reported in the social media, particularly, as a self-image building attempt or campaign.

Hence, Jokowi expressed hope that amid the noises and massive dissemination of fake news or hoaxes on the social media, in particular, the professional conventional media would take note of the situation and find the truth and facts.

Meanwhile, a research conducted by Indonesia Indicator (I2) has shown that Jokowi, in his capacity as the Indonesian president and presidential candidate, was a figure who most frequently appeared in news during 2018.

"Jokowi and Prabowo Subianto were figures who were most widely reported by the media during 2018," Rustika Herlambang, the communication director of I2, remarked in a statement on Jan 2, 2019.

Last year, Jokowi had appeared in a total of 642,588 news; Subianto, another presidential candidate, in 170,912 news; Sandiaga S. Uno, Prabowo`s running mate, in 165,140 news; Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan in 87,049 news; and Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla in the fifth rank, with 81,611 news.

Jokowi`s running mate, KH Ma`ruf Amin appeared in 80,186 news; Chairman of the Democratic Party Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 64,864 news; Setya Novanto, former House speaker, in 42,293 news; Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the former Jakarta governor, in 40,328 news; and Zulkifli Hasan, chairman of the National Mandate Party, in 40,293 news.

In 2013, Singapore-based Business Development Purengage, based on its research conducted from July to August 2013, had also confirmed that Jokowi was media darling. However, Purengage considered his popularity on the media was not natural as the country`s media was dominated by few elite groups.

Seeking a second term, 57-year-old Jokowi has picked Erick Thohir, a successful businessman who owns shares of several media companies, as chairman of his presidential candidate campaign team.

Thohir is the owner of Mahaka Media Group and Republika. He also owns major shares of private television station ANTV, and small shares of TVOne as well as VivaNews.com.

Several chairmen of political parties joining a Jokowi coalition are also in control of media, such as Surya Paloh, founder of the Nasional Demokrat (Nasdem) Party, controls Metro TV and Media Indonesia newspaper; while Hary Tanoesoedibjo, founder and chairman of Perindo Party, owns Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) group comprising RCTI, Global TV and MNCTV, Sindo, as well as several private radio stations.

And the most phenomenal media support for Jokowi came from the Jakarta Post on July 4, 2014, just five days prior to the presidential election, by publishing an editorial entitled "Endorsing Jokowi."

"We declare support [for Jokowi and Kalla] because this year`s presidential election is crucial in determining the future of Indonesia," the then chief editor Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, who is now President Director of Antara National News Agency, told Tempo nearly five years ago.

The 2019 presidential election is considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race showcasing a country divide, wherein Jokowi and Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.

In addition to winning majority conventional media`s support, Jokowi is also backed by a major coalition called Working Indonesian Coalition (KIK) involving nine political parties, notably the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP), PPP, Golkar Party, PKB, Nasdem, Hanura, PKPI, Perindo, and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI).

Subianto is supported by only four political parties, notably Gerindra, which is founded by Subianto; the National Mandate Party (PAN); the Justice Prosperous Party (PKS); and the Democratic Party (PD), established by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY).


Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019