Year End Notes 2022: SMSI Responsibilities and Media Business in the Year of Politics

by: Mohammad Nasir *)

National political stability is an important calculation for business people, investors and press companies. Politics is always included in the list of considerations, as a major factor.

Apart from politics, company managers consider other factors such as bank interest rates, complicated service bureaucracy, availability of human resources, infrastructure, and the level of pressure on labor unions in a region or country.

Political stability is a major consideration, because political turmoil can lead to riots that are detrimental to many parties, including the business community. Especially when accompanied by violence, barbaric acts, and arson.

Who dares to invest with high risk, in the shadow of political unrest and the threat of trade unions? Boro-boro is looking for profits, the company’s buildings are not just being attacked by the masses, they are already lucky. Entrepreneurs will need assurance of a sense of security.

Then how do we deal with a tumultuous political year starting in 2023? We must be good at anticipating it and know the time when it will be implemented and when the business opportunity will come.

According to the stages and schedule for holding the 2024 General Election (Pemilu), as quoted by, April 24-November 25 2023 registration of members of the People’s Representative Council (DPR), members of the Provincial Regional Representative Council (DPRD), and DPRD Regency/City.

October 19-November 25, 2023 presidential and deputy nominations. November 28 2023- February 10 2024 election campaign period, February 11 2024- February 13 2024 quiet period, and February 14-15 2024 voting and vote counting.

As a press entrepreneur, you need to pay close attention to political dynamics and examine business opportunities over the span of a political year.

We certainly hope that the elections will run smoothly, safely and peacefully. But there is still a small question mark, is it possible that there will be uncontrollable political dynamics that will make it difficult for us to do business?

What about the press company?. For media companies “bad news is good news” (bad news is good news) because media companies will get good news (from bad issues) and be read by many people.

However, if bad news, such as a riot that causes many people to lose, all business is disrupted, then the business managed by the press company is also disrupted.

Which company will set aside ad spending if its business conditions decline? Press companies will be distracted, not getting advertising. In the end, the press company went out of business.

So this is where media people have to be aware, not to support provocateurs, let alone being provocateurs on purpose.

As a responsibility for realizing national stability in many ways, press companies do not only seek profit, but also maintain national stability according to their respective fields.

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Then stay away from anything or destructive action. A conducive, safe and peaceful situation makes it possible for all to run a business, including the media business.

To make a profit in the media business, there is no need to be a provocateur, pitting competing candidates against each other in politics, and moreover spreading fake news (hoaxes).

We can make a profit by increasing interesting, quality, trustworthy and exclusive news if we can.

In addition to improving news content, press company business managers must be keen to see opportunities in the political year. The circulation of money will flow swiftly in all directions, including for campaigns and placing advertisements in mass media and outdoor media.

We pay close attention to the preparations for the presidential candidates who will compete in the General Election (Pemilu), the preparations for regional head candidates, candidates for members of the DPR, and Provincial/District/City DPRD.

Who can catch the circulation of money that will scatter everywhere in a political year? Those who can catch, they will be lucky.

We already have sufficient experience and knowledge by witnessing the General Elections and Pilkada, as well as legislative elections (Pileg) in previous years. The pattern hasn’t changed much.

Billboards, banners, banners with the words and photos of the candidates thronged the roadside, advertisements and political news filled the pages of newspapers, magazines and online media.

All candidates are selling good image everywhere. All use the money for promotion. Where does the money circulate and how to catch it?

All business people have their own way. However, a press company under the auspices of a press organization cannot be free to justify any means. The reason is that the press company manages the press media which in its daily operations must comply with journalistic rules, journalistic code of ethics and law on the press number 40 of 1999, as well as regulatory provisions related to the press.

It is also the responsibility of press companies to the independence and freedom of the press. Press companies that still need an up-to-date understanding of the press must ask those who understand or the press organization under their umbrella.

The Indonesian Cyber Media Union (SMSI), which has around 2,000 cyber press companies as members by the end of 2022 at the central management level, has met and discussed all possibilities that could occur in the political year, discussed responsibilities, and at the same time looked at business opportunities.

“For cyber media entrepreneurs like us, a skill that must always be honed is the ability to see business opportunities in any situation. In a political year, we must know what opportunities to take,” said SMSI Chairperson Firdaus in a briefing for a working meeting of the Central SMSI and DKI Jakarta management, 13 December 2022 at the Jayakarta Hotel, Central Jakarta.

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Don’t let the opportunity slip by, while we know it. Opportunities passed will not return. The opportunities that we find next are different opportunities with different challenges and situations.

We (me and Syarif Hidayatullah, Head of Cooperation and Inter-Institutional Relations of SMSI)
when asked to speak in front of fellow SMSI management, they try to help see business opportunities in the political year.

When we examined business opportunities together in the political year, we received an enthusiastic response from the administrators present.

The discussion took place warmly, felt like the same wave that exceeded the allotted time. The general chairman of SMSI, Firdaus, gave a signal to end the discussion because it was time for lunch.

But like a speeding train it cannot be stopped suddenly. Discussions that have flared up cannot be quickly extinguished. Slowly while giving the remaining questioners a chance, then stop.

An important organizational directive in media business in the political year, press companies must not abandon the journalistic code of ethics.
Why is that?

Even though media entrepreneurs are not bound by a journalistic code of ethics, like journalists, media companies in their operations rely on journalistic activities. Journalistic activities are carried out by journalists who are bound by press laws and journalistic codes of ethics.

It is not permissible for press entrepreneurs to force journalists to violate the journalistic code of ethics just for the sake of money, to make a profit.

Therefore, taking business opportunities in the press media still pay attention to the rules and regulations related to the press. Journalistic products must be distinguished from advertising or writing products paid for by sponsors.

Journalistic products should not be financed like advertising. Therefore advertising products must be marked, so that readers know it.

This is where SMSI members are expected to uphold the principles of doing business and media properly. It is permissible for press companies to make profits, but their press media do not violate press laws and journalistic codes of ethics.

Making profits wisely and being safe from violations, that was what was ordered at the working meeting of the Central SMSI and DKI Jakarta management in welcoming the political year.

Of course, in this note, we do not open up the press media business opportunities point by point in the political year as stated in the meeting, because that is an internal agenda that is a wealth of institutional ideas.

Explanations can only be conveyed through internal meetings, or consultations between members and organizational leaders.

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Even though press companies may seek profit, cyber media companies that are members of SMSI, which have become constituents of the Press Council, also continue to carry out their vision and mission and help maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

As a moral responsibility and to help maintain national stability, if later there is a political dynamic related to the succession of the NKRI leadership that is out of control, SMSI will not become a provocateur.

SMSI will appear as a media that straightens out the situation, fights and quenches the blaze of fake news (hoaxes) that has heated up this country.

For this reason, SMSI has partnered with and signed a partnership with the Indonesian Army’s Cyber and Encryption Center (PUSSASIAD). Cooperation measures have been jointly prepared for 2022.

Next year, 2023, this collaboration will be on SMSI’s agenda, in addition to carrying out many other agendas, including capturing business opportunities.

The Commander of PUSSANSIAD, Brigadier General Iroth Sonny Edhie, who signed the collaboration with Firdaus, fully supports SMSI’s steps to fight social media that spread hoaxes.

“SMSI and the Indonesian Army are bound by a very strong commitment and have the same understanding to synergize and participate in maintaining the ideals of independence as a sovereign, modern, just and prosperous country,” said SMSI Chairperson Firdaus after signing the Cooperation Agreement between SMSI and PUSSANSIAD at the Indonesian Army Headquarters, Jalan Veteran Jakarta, Thursday (21/7/2022).

The signing of the cooperation was witnessed directly by the Chief of Staff of the Army (KSAD) General TNI Dudung Abdurachman  who is also the Chairman of the SMSI Board of Trustees, Chair of the Press Council Prof Dr Azyumardi Azra and General Chairperson of PWI Center Atal S Depari as well as the ranks of the TNI AD and all SMSI management from 34 Provinces.

The cooperation agreement was strengthened by the presence of many figures in military and civilian circles, including Members of the SMSI Advisory Board Major General (Purn) Joko Warsito, Major General (Purn) Wuryanto, Major General (Purn) Herwin Suparjo, and Chairman of the SMSI Advisory Council Budiman Sudjatmiko and members of the Advisory Council Bona Ventura Sulistiana, Marpuah, GS Ashok Kumar and Drs KH M Ma’shum Hidayatullah MM, as well as the Advisory Board of SMSI Ervik Ari Susanto and no less than 22 high-ranking officers of the TNI AD leadership.

Congratulations on working for the progress of the nation and the country. Happy new year 2023, a political year that we will go through together. May it be safe and peaceful.

*) The author is the Secretary General of SMSI for the period 2019-2024