Telumpedia #1: The Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI)

Telumpedia #1: The Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI)
Martinus Adinata

Keeping up to speed with the media world can sometimes seem like a job in itself. Enter Telumpedia. In this series we pull back the covers on key parts of the Indonesian media industry, and get under the skin of trends, associations and lingo.

Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI) is a non-profit organisation formed to improve the quality of online media in Indonesia. The organisation was founded when 26 online media in Indonesia agreed to declare its establishment at the Press Council Building, on 18th April, 2017.

"Why does AMSI need to be established? Because even though for the last 10-15 years we (the media industry) have entered the digital world, many regulations have remained absent in it,” said the Head of AMSI, Wenseslaus Manggut.

"We think the business world in digital media is a new sector, yet there are no digital business regulations yet. Many also have yet to understand its business model and to develop regulations, the government will also need to ask around for input. So who can they turn to? They need to have a partner."

The COO of KapanLagi Youniverse also highlighted that the massive online media growth in Indonesia had become another issue that needs to be addressed.

"Amid our freedom to establish media, everyone can create one, therefore boosting its numbers. We need to be grateful for this freedom, but it also becomes a problem due to the lack of prudence in managing them,” explained Wenseslaus.

"From not paying taxes, improper management, to the increase in hoaxes and hate speech content. That is the current situation at the moment. Though of course, not all online media outlets are like that."

The Head of AMSI, Wenseslaus Manggut. (Doc/AMSI)

The Role of PRs and Corporates

One of the main concerns of AMSI is the rising amount of content containing hoaxes, hate speeches, racism, and so on, which is turning into its own business ecosystem.

"Hoaxes / hate speech / digital waste has become a business ecosystem. You can see it on Youtube, for example. There are ads in hate speech content,” said Wenseslaus. 

"In the end, people feel these kinds of videos are selling, and ads are rolling in. The hate business is prospering more than good news. So they decide to sell hatred, making racism-related content, and then wait for ads to come in."

Thus, Wenseslaus hopes that corporate and PR partners can play an active role in eradicating this digital waste, especially considering that hoaxes, racism, and hate speech content attract high traffic and engagement, inviting various brands to place their ads on it.

"AMSI wants our friends at the corporate level and fellow PRs to help clean up this digital waste. How? By convincing their clients to place their ads in the right place. Trusted brand, trusted content," emphasised Wenseslaus.

"Don’t be enticed by the high traffic and engagement, because once you are there, you are also sponsoring the spread of hate speech, hoaxes, and digital waste."

Furthermore, Wenseslaus reiterated AMSI’s intention to cut the business chain of these unsavoury online practices, and urged the business world to be more aware of this situation.

"Lots of people complain about the number of circulating hoaxes, but they might not be aware that their own brand sponsored it. So we have to understand that content cannot survive without ads,” continued Wenseslaus.

Collaboration with the Press Council

AMSI currently consists of more than 250 online media firms across more than 20 cities in 18 provinces in Indonesia, from North Sumatra to Papua. The organisation emphasises the importance of legal entities for its members, to ensure that each media outlet is legally recognised and can be accounted for.

"To be a member, you have to have a legal entity, at the very least. Members of AMSI must be press companies,” addressed Wenseslaus.

"What constitutes a press company? They have to have a legal entity, either in the form of LLC, Cooperative, or Foundation, depending on their respective business model. Also, its office address has to be clear; the same goes for its management."

Leaders from 26 media outlets during the declaration of AMSI (Doc/AMSI)

Despite underlining the importance of the legal entity status of a media, AMSI’s doors are also open for media that are yet to have a legal entity or are registered with the Press Council. For this, AMSI has a legal division that can assist in obtaining a license, including helping the media to register in the Indonesian Press Council.

In terms of the role of AMSI in the Press Council, the organisation is on the process to become a member or stakeholder, which is in charge of protecting the freedom of the press in Indonesia.

Until the end of January 2020, the Press Council has verified nine AMSI management from a total of 18 branch / city management in Indonesia. Meanwhile, to be a member, as provided in the Press Council Regulation, there must be at least 200 media company members across at least 15 city or provincial branches in Indonesia.

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