Media and journalism issues

Jakarta Post plans to lay off nearly 70% of its employees

Camille Elemia

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Jakarta Post plans to lay off nearly 70% of its employees
A company spokesperson says they are eyeing to implement it by October 1, pending discussions with the workers' union

The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s leading English daily, announced its plan to lay off two-thirds of its employees, citing ad revenue decline and the coronavirus pandemic. (READ: How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the media)

The management made the announcement in its meeting with the paper’s Workers Council on Tuesday, August 25. The company has a total of 215 editorial and non-editorial staff.

Taufiq Rahman, deputy editor-in-chief and spokesperson, told Rappler that this is part of the newsroom’s “turnaround plan.”

“The turnaround plan, which includes cost-cutting and layoffs, if and when implemented, is aimed at making it possible for The Jakarta Post to remain operational and continues to be a critical voice in Indonesian democracy. If we’re financially sustainable in the long run, we can continue playing that crucial role,” Rahman said in an e-mail to Rappler on Friday, August 28.

“The ad revenue is declining, yet we still have to pay the same, if not greater sum, for operational overhead,” he said.

The company’s board of directors and the union are still in talks about the “crucial details of the plan.” So far, they are eyeing to implement it by October 1, but he said nothing is final yet.

In a separate statement released to media, The Post said the layoff plan “will only be a last resort.”

But at least two journalists with knowledge of the discussions told Rappler, on condition of anonymity, that management is firm in its decision to retrench two-thirds of the staff, or more than 140 employees.

They told Rappler the goal now is to ensure that employees’ rights are upheld in the process.

Rahman said all affected employees will get severance pay according to local labor laws.

Like many global newspapers, The Post, which also has an online version, was already struggling even before the global crisis hit. (READ: Closure, job cuts: Why COVID-19 spells death for community journalism)

Established in 1983, it has won numerous awards, with the most recent being the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA)’s 2020 award for Public Service Journalism for its collaborative project with other Indonesian news groups on sexual assault in universities. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.