Indonesian influencers apologise for unknowingly backing controversial job bill in campaign

Three Indonesian influencers have apologised for allegedly supporting the job creation bill after they copped flak for posting content in favour of the controversial bill. According to The Jakarta Post, Gofar Hilman, Ardhito Pramono and Aditya Fadillah reportedly used the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja (Indonesia Needs Jobs) in their content.

The bill was initiated by President Joko Widodo in February this year and aims to improve the ease of doing business in the country as well as attract investment. According to The Jakarta Post, this will result in an improvement in job opportunies and economic growth within Indonesia. Businesses were for the bill since it would open Indonesian up to more foreign investment and create a more flexible labour market. Labour groups, however, said the bill could potentially reduce their job security, renumeration and rights, The Jakarta Post added.

In a Twitter apology, Hilman alleged that he was unware of the intention behind the campaign, explaining that the client brief he received was to produce a video concerning creative ways to survive at home amidst social restrictions.

Hilman explained that there was no mention of any bill from the presentation deck and brief he received, and that his video with the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja was not in support of the job creation bill, neither was it meant to offend any group of individuals. He apologised for he mistake of not carrying out more in-depth research before taking on the job. "I personally apologise and in future, my team and I will be more careful when accepting work," he added.

Meanwhile, Pramono also clarified in a Twitter thread that while he received a brief to participate in a campaign containing the hashtag, the brief did not state any information about the omnibus bill. According to Pramono, he also asked the publicist if the campaign was linked to the omnibus bill, to which the publicist responded that the campaign aims to lift the public's spirits amidst the pandemic as new jobs might be available soon. 

He explained that he is merely a musician and had no knowledge of political issues and did not want to be dragged into any political controversy. Meanwhile, another influencer named Aditya Fadillah also apologised and said he received a payment of less than US$338 for helping publicise the campaign, The Jakarta Post reported.

On the other hand, presenter Fitri Tropica, actor Gadin Marten and actress Gritte Agatha have published short videos using the said hashtag, stating clearly that the hashtag supported the job creation bill. The Jakarta Post said they explained that the posts aim to use skits or simple explanations to educate the public about the bill's benefits. Meanwhile, Donny Gahral Adian, who is part of the presidential staff, was quoted by CNN Indonesia saying that the campaign was not an order from the government but rather a spontaneous act on the influencers' part.

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