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28
June

 

Starting on Monday (27/6), President Joko Widodo attended the G7 Summit which is held at Elmau Palace, in the Alps region, Bavaria, Germany. The G7 is a forum for developed and industrialized countries consisting of the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and France. As quoted by Reuters, Germany, as the host of this year's G7 summit, invited Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina, India and South Africa as partner countries to this summit.

President Joko Widodo seized this invitation to promote investment opportunities in the clean energy sector in Indonesia. This was conveyed by President Joko Widodo, Monday (27/6) while attending the G7 Summit working lunch session with the topics of climate change, energy, and health. This is the information on the presidenri.go.id page.

President Joko Widodo also seized the trip to Europe to visit Ukraine and Russia, which are in conflict. Before leaving for Europe, he had informed that his visits to Ukraine and Russia were to encourage the two countries to open dialogue for peace.

Some people may think that President Joko Widodo's visit to Ukraine and Russia will be in vain. This is because the big countries, which have the resources and power to coerce, have not been able to prevent Russia from continuing to attack Ukraine. Indeed, President Joko Widodo himself did not say that he was trying to reconcile the two countries. He wants to encourage the leaders of the two countries to open dialogue so that through dialogue, they themselves would seek peace.

President Joko Widodo's efforts also need to be supported by all Indonesian people, because there is a bigger interest, namely securing the food supply chain. The Russian-Ukrainian war has hampered food distribution, disrupted the economy and made it difficult for developing and low-income countries to find food, plunging them into extreme poverty. Indonesia itself is still a developing country. If the war continues, Indonesia will also experience food shortages and economic collapse due to skyrocketing food prices. Hopefully, President Joko Widodo's efforts are followed by leaders of other developing countries, so that all countries support the creation of Russia-Ukraine peace.

01
July

 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was sworn in as president of the Philippines in a ceremony in Manila on Thursday (30/6), succeeding Rodrigo Duterte. In his first speech as president, Marcos Jr. thanked the Filipino people for granting what he called the "largest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy". He promised to take his country forward, with policies that benefit everyone.

On one hand, a number of people are waiting for his promises, including increasing job opportunities and lowering the price of basic commodities and basic needs. On the other hand, both the Philippines and the international community are also waiting for Marcos Jr.'s foreign policy stance, especially related to the relationship between the Philippines and the United States and between the Philippines and China, which is often problematic.

Over the past few years, the Philippines has had a territorial dispute with China. In solving this problem, the Duterte administration prioritizes diplomatic relations with China rather than resolving it firmly. However, in 2016, an arbitral tribunal established under the International Law of the Sea ruled in favour of the Philippines over China's claims.

Regarding the South China Sea dispute, Marcos Jr. Emphasized that he would stick to the decision that clarified the Philippines' sovereign rights. In this regard, the new Philippine president promised to be firm and consistent with his stance. However, that doesn't mean choosing the hard line or war, he will still prioritize diplomacy.

What about the Philippines-US relations? Under the Duterte administration, relations between the two countries, which have a very long history, experienced ups and downs, especially in the military field. In February 2020, Duterte scaled back joint military exercises and threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement. But the problem was finally resolved in July 2021.

Will the Marcos Jr. government continue to maintain good relations between the Philippines and the United States? Doubts arose because of the poor past track record of relations between the Marcos family and the United States government. This raises the view that the situation will not improve in the future.

People may have doubts, yet, Marcos Jr clearly said, as quoted from mediaindonesia.com (26/6), that he wants to be friends with everyone. This means that Marcos Jr. will establish partnerships with other countries, including China and the United States without compromising the interests of the Philippines.

To be sure, ASEAN and Indonesia in particular, hope that the new government in the Philippines will further enhance cooperation among countries in the Southeast Asian region which has been well established.

 

28
February

 

More recently, the Indonesian people have been disturbed by the discourse that the 2024 General Election should  be postponed for one or two years. This was voiced by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who is also General Chairperson of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Muhaimin Iskandar after receiving guests from a group of entrepreneurs and banking economic analysts. He perceived that Indonesia’s economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has not fully recovered so that the 2024 General Election may have the potential to cause conflict. If the election is postponed, President Joko Widodo will get an extension of the term of office.

The proposal immediately resulted in pros and cons. The National Mandate Party (PAN) became one of the parties that supported the proposal. On the contrary, the NasDem party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Democrats, and PDIP rejected the proposal.

The proposed postponement of the election evoked public memories of the discourse in 2019 on the extension of the presidential term of office for three terms. This was firmly rejected by President Joko Widodo. He even suspected that the party who proposed it deliberately wanted to mislead him. The President also emphasized that he was a product of direct elections based on the Constitution 1945 post-reform.

The discourse of a three-term presidency reappeared in 2021. Once again, President Joko Widodo asserted that he had no intention and no interest in serving for three terms. He also affirmed that his stance of rejecting the discourse would never change. President Joko Widodo brings this up as a commitment to interpret the contents of the 1945 Constitution that the term of office of the president is limited to two terms only. He also asked all sides not to make trouble. According to President Joko Widodo, it would be better if all focus on handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Postponing the election would have an impact on the extension of the president's term of office. Until now, President Joko Widodo has not responded to the current discourse. However, the potential for disruption has begun to appear. A number of parties also want the president to respond immediately.

If the five-year extension is vehemently rejected by President Joko Widodo, just a short extension through the postponement of the election seems unlikely to be approved. Even though he stated his stance in the past. But now, President Joko Widodo should immediately respond to the discourse so that the controversy is not prolonged by encouraging the General Elections Commission to immediately prepare for the 2024 election as well as possible. This action can at the same time answer public questions on the president's position in responding to the discourse of postponing the election.

21
February

 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo calls world leaders to stop rivalry and tension in various regions so that the world recovery process is not disrupted.

During a virtual speech at the opening of the First G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting from the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Thursday (17/2), President Joko Widodo appealed to the world leaders to focus on synergizing and collaborating to save and revive the world.

He further stated that on one hand, the revival of one region will revive another. On the other hand, the collapse of one area will also collapse other areas. Thereby, he emphasized that such a situation is not the time to put forward rivalries or create new tensions that disrupt the world's recovery. Moreover, causing conflict may endanger the safety of the world, as it is happening in Ukraine nowadays.

The President also said that global uncertainty must be faced by working together to control inflation which tends to increase. In addition, synergistic cooperation is also needed to anticipate food scarcity and increase in prices, as well as to overcome the scarcity of containers and other logistics chains.

According to an energy analyst for the Netherlands-based financial services provider, Rabobank, there are several economic impacts that the world might face if the conflict in Ukraine does not end peacefully, or Russia receives economic sanctions. The Ukraine conflict is said to be able to push up oil prices which have already reached the level of US$ 90 per barrel to US$ 125 per barrel. Meanwhile, the price of gas and major metals will also increase. Other major commodities that will also be affected are wheat, barley, corn, and sunflowers because Russia and Ukraine are the main producers of these agricultural products. In addition, a prolonged conflict will also push the inflation rate in a higher direction.

Hopefully, President Joko Widodo's call to stop rivalry and tension in various regions, so that the world recovery process is not disrupted, will receive a positive response from world leaders. Many parties are optimistic that the meeting of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors of the G-20 countries can formulate fiscal and monetary policy measures that are in synergy between countries. So, efforts to solve world problems can become a reality. It is fitting that the 'devastation' caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is repaired together, in accordance with the theme of the Indonesian G-20 Presidency, namely, Recover Together, Recover Stronger.

14
February

“Radio and Trust”

Written by
Published in Editorial

 

Yesterday, February 13, 2022 was observed as the eleventh World Radio Day. The World Radio Day was introduced on 3 November 2011, at the 36th General Conference of the United Nations organization for Education, Science and Culture -UNESCO. The first Radio Day commemoration was proposed by Spain on September 20, 2010. Then,  in 2011, UNESCO conducted extensive consultations with various stakeholders, related to the observance of the World Radio Day. As a result, 91 percent support World Radio Day. February 13 was chosen as the anniversary date, because it was on that date in 1946, UN Radio was founded.

On its website, UNESCO says, radio continues to be one of the most trusted and accessible media in the world; UNESCO also states, radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and is a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most consumed medium. Its unique ability to reach the widest possible audience enables radio to shape the experience of people's diversity. On the one hand, it can stand as an arena for all voices to be spoken, represented and heard. On the other hand, radio stations are required to be able to serve diverse communities, offer a variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences within their organizations and operations.

The theme for this year's Radio Day is ‘Radio and Trust’. The theme has 3 sub-themes.  First, Trust in Radio Journalism: Produce independent and high-quality content. Second, Trust and Accessibility: Take care of the audience or listeners. Third, Radio Station Trust and Survival: Ensure competitiveness.

The 3 sub-themes seem appropriate to see the current radio situation. Amid the development of social media, the internet and various information and communication platforms, radio is required to maintain its strength as a trustworthy medium. The number of hoaxes on various information and communication platforms makes people still need mainstream print media, such as newspapers or magazines, and electronics media, such as television and radio to find true and factual information.

In accordance with the times, today's radio stations, including Voice of Indonesia, continue to try to reach a wider audience through various platforms, including short wave, websites, live streaming, and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and others. Thereby, it can be said that radio is still the medium with the widest reach.

10
February

 

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine do not seem to show any signs of subsiding even though Russian President, Vladimir Putin gave assurances to ease the tensions after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, Monday (7/2) local time. The reason is that Russia remains steadfast in its requests to NATO and the Western world. The first request is that Russia has asked NATO to stop "expansion" by including new members. Second, Russia asked NATO troops to withdraw their troops from Eastern Europe. Third, Russia also asked the United States to promise not to back NATO member countries in Eastern Europe with nuclear weapons.

The Western Alliances did not grant Russia's request. The Western Alliances responded to Russia's request with threats of sanctions. German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock on Monday (Feb 8) urged Russia to defuse tensions and warned Russia to face severe political and economic sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said sanctions and other measures would be imposed in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine. The British government will ask parliament to sanction Russian individuals and companies. Amid this threat of sanctions, Russia does not seem to be backing down. Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border in recent weeks. Recently, Russia has also deployed MiG-31 K fighter jets armed with hypersonic land-attack missiles, Kinzhal in Kaliningrad, Baltic Coast region.

In fact, there is always a solution to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine backed by Western alliances. The threat of sanctions does not solve the current crisis. The diplomatic approach is a way to resolve the crisis or at least avoid the worst. What has been done by French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the diplomatic efforts to prevent heating escalation. Amid rising tensions; Macron flew to Kiev, Ukraine after visiting Moscow on Monday (7/2). In Moscow, he had discussions with President Putin for more than five hours.

According to President Macron, the aim of meeting President Putin is to prevent escalation and to create new perspectives. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave assurances to ease tensions after holding talks with President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, Monday (7/2) local time. It is hoped that all conflicting parties need to support and continue the diplomatic approach taken by French President Emmanuel Macron. Thus, the worst can be avoided.

07
February

 

This week marks an important commemoration for the mass media in Indonesia, namely National Press Day. The opening of the 2022 National Press Day was held on Sunday (6/2) in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi. It is planned that President Joko Widodo will give a speech at the Peak of the Commemoration of National Press Day on February 9.

Initially, the President stated that he would attend directly in Kendari. However, the recent increasing number of people exposed to Covid-19 has made all of President Joko Widodo's face-to-face agendas temporarily suspended. Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Heru Budi Hartono explained to the media crew that starting Sunday (6/2), all activities would be followed by the Head of State online.

In fact, President Joko Widodo's online presence has actually answered the wishes of the Indonesian Editor-in-Chief Forum. Quoting the Antara News Agency report on January 28, 2022, the Indonesian Editor-in-Chief Forum asked the government, State-Owned Enterprises, and the private sectors to increase virtual events in order to anticipate the transmission of Covid-19 to journalists. Forum Chair Arifin Asydhad said, according to data, so far many journalists and media workers from various mass media have contracted COVID-19. In fact, the number continues to grow every day.

Amidf the Covid-19 pandemic, journalists are one of the professions at the forefront. The press carries out its duties to explain clearly about Covid-19, starting from the current conditions of the spread of the Covid-19 virus with all its variants to the anticipatory steps that must be taken by the public so as not to be exposed. The press also plays an important role in increasing public discipline in carrying out health protocols and awareness to vaccinate. In addition, the press is also fighting the fake news that is widely circulated about Covid-19.

To carry out their duties, journalists often have to go to the field, such as reporting the actual conditions in hospitals handling Covid-19. Therefore, the journalists are at high risk of being exposed to, even dying from Covid-19. According to a report by a non-governmental organization with special consultative status from the United Nations, the Press Emblem Campaign, as of early January, nearly two thousand journalists in 94 countries had died due to the Covid-19.

The commemoration of National Press Day can be a momentum to make all parties in Indonesia aware of the duties and roles that have been carried out by journalists in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, all parties are reminded to prioritize organizing virtual or online press events or conferences. Thus, important and correct information about Covid-19 can reach the public immediately, but by minimizing the risk of journalists being exposed to Covid-19.

Happy National Press Day 2022!  

03
February

 

North Korea confirmed on Monday (31/1) that they tested their intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), Hwasong-12 on Sunday (30/1). Therefore, Pyongyang had made a record of seven missile launches in just a month -January 2022. This was the biggest missile launch since 2017 and caused concern among the international communities, mainly the US, South Korea, Japan, and other countries, including the United Nations.

This concern was not baseless. With their full power, this missile can fly across thousands of miles, reaching beyond South Korea and Japan, even to Guam that belongs to the US military base. Therefore, the US - supported by England and France - had requested the UN Security Council to have a closed meeting this Thursday (03/02) to discuss the IRBM launch by North Korea.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres on Tuesday (1/2) condemned the launch and urged North Korea to stop taking the counter-productive act further. According to a UN spokesperson, Farhan Haq, the act by Pyongyang violated the moratorium announced by the country in 2018 about similar launchings and a resolution of the UN Security Council.

Since 2006, North Korea has been given sanction by the UN, which was strengthened by the Security Council for years in a bid to target the funding of Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But why does North Korea still dare to continue their missile test?

According to Prof. Kim Dong Yup –a former South Korean Navy Commander - the launch by North Korea was a show that the country is moving fast to an effective and total nuclear defense capability. After the missile tests on January 5 and 10, Pyongyang claimed to successfully test hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) and maneuverable reentry vehicle (MARV).

He affirmed that North Korea is developing a technology that can defeat the expensive and complex missile defense system of the US and Japan in the Korean Peninsula. However, the main target of North Korea is not oriented to other countries, but to their own defense.

We can only hope that this view is right and in line with what is planned by North Korea. Otherwise, the crisis in the Korean Peninsula can get worse.

Peace is always beautiful. Although not without conflict, peace is an ability to handle a conflict in a peaceful way.

31
January

 

President Joko Widodo assessed that Omicron cases in Indonesia will continue to increase in the next few weeks. Daily cases of the CovidD-19, especially the Omicron variant, continue to experience a spike. Until Sunday (30/1), the government reported daily positive cases of Corona, although most were not the Omicron variant, as many as 12,422. This brings the total active cases to 61,718.

In a press statement last Friday (28/1), he said that the government had made a lot of preparations to deal with this surge by improving various health facilities which are adapted to the character of the Omicron variant.

President Joko Widodo also remarked that all cases of Omicron require health services. The symptoms do seem less serious than the previous variant, but they are still dangerous. Therefore, the most important thing is to minimize contacts with other people. In addition, the President also appealed to the public to always implement health protocols and reduce unnecessary activities.

He emphasized that if the PCR test results are positive even though there are no symptoms, the patients can self-isolate at home for 5 days. If there are symptoms of cough, runny nose, and fever, the patients can access telemedicine services to get free services, including medicines. Thus, health facilities can focus more on treating the patients with severe symptoms as well as the patients with other diseases that require intensive services.

The government did take a different strategy in dealing with the Omicron and Delta variants. In dealing with the Delta variant, the government focuses on providing high hospital capacity, while in dealing with Omicron, the government focuses on self-isolation with telemedicine services. This is because the level of treatment and severity of cases of the Omicron variant is lower.

However, people still need to be vigilant. In Indonesia until last week, it was recorded that three patients died due to this variant. Therefore, the public should follow the President's call to strictly implement the health protocols, and avoid crowds, including on the Lunar or Chinese New Year which is a national holiday on February 1st tomorrow.

27
January

 

The tension between Ukraine and Russia increased. Even based on the latest news, Russia added more troops near the Russia-Ukraine border. This made many worried if Russia could easily invade their neighbor.

Reuters reported, the US and its allies kept echoing threats against Russia that have placed their soldiers and artillery in the border area. Besides a threat to give a sanction for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US had sent some weaponry, such as anti-tank javelin, launchers, and other military hardware to strengthen the Ukrainian defence system.

But what is the real reason for the tension between Russia and Ukraine? As reported by Al Jazeera, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus were founded around the Dnieper River 1,200 years ago. However, Russia and Ukraine are still different in language, history, and politics. Still, Vladimir Putin kept claiming that Russia and Ukraine are one part of the Russian civilization and of course, Ukraine rejected that claim. Ukraine had two revolutions in 2005 and 2014 to reject Russian supremacy. Ukraine then kept looking for paths to join the European Union and NATO.

The call for the NATO allies to share one view on the latest situation in the Russia-Ukraine border kept coming. The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and French President Emmanuel Macron asked for a dialog with President Vladimir Putin, as requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy so that four nations namely France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine can begin a negotiation.

However, the US as the engine of NATO should keep supporting peace between the two conflicting countries. Dialogue must be the first choice in anticipating further military escalation that can bring big effects for the two sides economically, politically, and strategically, which can bring about a war crime and human rights violation.

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