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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Jakarta journalists bear brunt of industry cuts

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 21, 2020   /   09:00 pm
COVID-19: Jakarta journalists bear brunt of industry cuts Journalists photograph a display of information about COVID-19 in Bekasi, West Java, on March 19. (Antara/Fakhri Hermansyah)

A number of journalists and media professionals in Jakarta have been left jobless with little to no financial support as the media industry cuts costs, citing the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Jakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers).

As many as 23 journalists have submitted complaints about the current situation to the groups, saying their superiors had terminated their employment without any prior notice.

Some said they were furloughed or made to take unpaid leave without being given any information regarding the future of their employment, while others said they were reassigned to the administrative or finance divisions of their companies, the organizations said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

“Severance packages provided by a number of media companies are not up to par with existing regulations. Several companies, for instance, only provided two months of salary without any additional benefits,” the statement read.

Read also: Massive layoffs loom due to COVID-19

AJI Jakarta and LBH Pers have set up a platform for journalists to submit their complaints.

Article 164 of Law No. 13/2003 on manpower stipulates that a severance package must include two months of salary in addition to employee benefits and compensation. The amount of severance pay must be determined by the duration of employment.

AJI Jakarta and LBH Pers have urged media companies to be more transparent with their employees about their financial performance and to seek win-win solutions that would uphold employee welfare.

The organizations have also called on media professionals to have a better understanding of their employment rights to prevent any exploitation.