"Media outlets play an important role in disseminating information, educating our people, and combating hoaxes on COVID-19," said Sukamta, a legislator representing the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Faction at the House of Representatives (DPR), here Sunday.
Without the active participation of Indonesia's credible media outlets, the government's information on its efforts to fight against new coronavirus disease would not easily reach the people, Sukamta said.
To this end, the government must assist print and electronic media as well as news service in the country because this ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus has hit them harder than before, he said.
Several media outlets in Indonesia have actually suffered hardship in their business partly due to the people's changing ways of consuming news.
"The assistance scheme that the government has provided for micro, small and medium-scaled enterprises and other business entities needs also be given to our media outlets," he said.
The government, for instance, could offer tax relaxation and cooperation in information dissemination on COVID-19-related issues, he said, adding that despite the cooperation, the media outlets must still maintain their role as watchdog of the government.
The coronavirus disease, which initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019, has since spread to at least 202 countries and territories, including Indonesia, with a massive increase in death toll.
The Indonesian Government officially announced the country's first confirmed cases on March 2 this year. The ongoing pandemic has weakened the purchasing power of scores of Indonesian families, particularly those who have lost their jobs.
To break the chain of transmission, large-scale social restrictions have been applied in several cities, including Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, and Surabaya.
The central government has also banned homebound travel, locally known as "mudik", during the fasting month of Ramadhan and the Idul Fitri holiday season.
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