"Many journalists are no longer working because the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hit (the business of) their media companies. The COVID-19 crisis has also affected the lives of retired senior journalists," PWI chairman Atal S Depari said.
Depari symbolically handed over aid packages to several active and retired media workers at an event held at Dompet Dhuafa's headquarters in South Jakarta on Wednesday.
At the event, Dompet Dhuafa was represented by its founder, Parni Hadi, and head of the Dompet Dhuafa Foundation, Nasyid Majidi. Parni Hadi, former president director of the ANTARA News Agency, himself initiated the relief aid program.
He said the coronavirus pandemic has severely hit the economies of several nations. It has also cut big chunks of incomes of so many Indonesian households, including those working at media companies, he added.
Like many other sections of the community, journalists have also suffered from the impact of COVID-19 despite their important role in disseminating information to the public and strategic function as one of the pillars of democracy.
"Therefore, we must help them," Depari said, while thanking Dompet Dhuafa for donating the relief aid packages to journalists.
ANTARA has noted that many media companies in Indonesia have found it difficult to survive the coronavirus crisis in spite of the government and the public’s recognition of the important role they have played in reporting current issues and their implications on the nation’s socio-economic life.
In response to the impact of COVID-19 on Indonesia's media industry, the associations of media companies and media workers recently voiced their concerns over the coronavirus crisis and made appeals to the government (SS Kurniawan in Kontan.co.id, 2020).
They asked the Indonesian Government to allocate funds for media companies to help socialize its policies, programs, and campaigns on COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
The association of media companies and media workers also appealed to the government to subsidize the price of newsprint paper by up to 20 percent per kilogram for the country's print media companies.
They also requested the government to subsidize electricity costs by up to 30 percent for usage period May-December, 2020, and to pay journalists' excess payments to the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sukamta, a legislator representing the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction at the House of Representatives (DPR), voiced support for the media companies and journalists' petition, saying that the government needs to help the mainstream media survive the crisis.
He argued that media outlets play an important role in disseminating information, educating the people, and combating hoaxes on COVID-19.
Without active participation from Indonesia's credible media outlets, information regarding the government's efforts to fight against the new coronavirus disease would not easily reach the people, Sukamta asserted. (INE)
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