Jakarta (ANTARA) - The press, ever since its existence, has played an important role in society and become a guiding beacon for the public to obtain accurate, factual, and balanced information or news.

The press can gain that trust owing to its discipline in conducting journalistic works. Verification, confirmation, and covering differing perspectives become the principles that reporters uphold.

By upholding these principles, the press can produce quality journalistic works that can be trusted by the general public.

With passage of time, the press, journalism and mass media now have to face myriad challenges, especially in the era of digital disruption.

Digital disruption can be defined as an era in which fundamental changes and innovations emerge due to the existence of digital technology.

During the Mass Media National Convention in Medan, North Sumatra, last Wednesday (February 8), Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate drew attention to at least three challenges that the press encounters during the digital disruption era.

The first challenge involves the fact that within the coming years, the industry is not only influenced by how fast it can adopt digital technology but also how swiftly it can publish digital contents to match the audience's expectations.

The second challenge concerns the distribution of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that has become increasingly prevalent in the digital space.

The press is expected to prevent the distribution of such false information to present a clean and beneficial digital space.

The press is also expected to no longer fall into the trap of 'clickbait' journalism. The press should position itself as a medium to provide certainty to the public amid multiple rapid streams of information.

Journalists should maintain quality in presenting news to maintain the public's trust that has been developed through this time.

The third challenge concerns the fact that digital advancement has led to the audience slowly preferring digital media to conventional media as its source of information.

According to the 2023 Reuters Institute Digital News, online media became the most frequently accessed source by the people, reaching 88 percent, followed by social media, at 68 percent; television, around 57 percent; and the print media, at the lowest score of 17 percent.

The other challenge that the press currently encounters is the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Currently, many AI-based technologies have emerged that can copy and even replace human jobs, including of journalists.

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One such technology is ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an AI-based software that can provide optimal answers to any questions by providing a human-like interface.

Beyond answering questions, ChatGPT can also create long-form writings in addition to essays, poems, and humor.

The existence of technologies, such as ChatGPT, have become a challenge for various jobs, including the press.

ChatGPT that can create long-form writings, such as articles, may replace the role of the press in the future.

Much like what Head of the Press Council Ninik Rahayu has stated, the current various challenges are not just domestic issues in press companies but also national press issues that should be handled together.

Amid various challenges, the press should develop unique, adaptive, and contemporary innovations. Through innovation and adaptation, the press will be able to explore various opportunities without sacrificing independence and professionalism.

To this end, rather than viewing AI as a threat, the press can utilize the advancements in digital technology to create various major opportunities for itself, media, and journalism.

However, this certainly needs to be followed with the journalists' capability to quickly adapt.

Digital technology's rapid developments and new media's emergence in the press world also push the urgency for a legal umbrella to facilitate the creation of new opportunities, so that the press can continue to work.

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Recently, it was announced that the Indonesian government is preparing a regulation in the form of presidential regulation (perpres) called the Media Sustainability Perpres.

It will regulate the mechanism for a cooperation pattern as well as the relationship between the media and global platforms for a just press ecosystem. This will certainly be a breath of fresh air for the press industry in the future.

Optimism should remain high that the national press is capable of handling these various challenges. The freedom of press that everyone has enjoyed should be maintained with responsibility.

A free, responsible press means that journalists uphold journalistic ethics code that refers to the principles of diversity, nationality, and unity.

This optimism should certainly be cultivated and not just become a dream without action.

Everyone should take concrete steps by exploring various opportunities and bolstering innovations to maintain press freedom and press sustainability amid the digital disruption era.

At its peak, the press should continue to uphold idealism, be objective, and not slip into polarization ahead of the 2024 Simultaneous Election.

Quoting President Joko Widodo's message at the 2023 National Press Day (HPN) event, the media should encourage honest and fair 2024 General Election as well as uphold Indonesia's unity.

Mass media should also continue to become the fourth pillar of democracy and the people's main source of information. Happy 2023 National Press Day. Free press, dignified democracy.

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Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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