Media Study: Perception of Sustainable Regencies
Sustainability is the foundation of a global cooperation framework outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and must be emphasized to ensure that future generations will be able to fulfill their basic needs.
Lingkar Temu Kabupaten Lestari (LTKL) is a collaboration forum established and managed by regency governments to better implement sustainable development. Established in 2017, LTKL now has 12 member regencies across eight provinces in Indonesia.
The forum supports the direction of member regencies’ development by helping them strike a balance between economic, social, and environmental factors at play, especially through the cooperation of all stakeholders, both within and between member regencies.
The media also has a strategic role in supporting sustainable development, beyond disseminating information to the public, including by building public awareness about sustainability issues, encouraging support for sustainable actions, and influencing policy-making. With these strategic roles, it is important for stakeholders, including LTKL, to establish effective cooperation with the media in order to achieve sustainability targets inside and outside the member regencies. Terra Komunika, as a supporting partner of LTKL, acts as a communication bridge between LTKL and the national and regional media.
This media study aims to gain an overview of the national and local media’s understanding of the concept of a kabupaten lestari (sustainable regency). In addition, this study aims to understand the relevance of sustainable development at the regency level in the current Indonesian context and in the eyes of the media.
This study was carried out through verbal and written interviews conducted by phone and email with 28 journalists from print and online media outlets and journalist organizations, both at the national and regional level. The interviewees hold various positions, including as editors, news coordinators, and journalists in issues related to economics, business, and sustainability. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used to gauge their understanding of sustainable regencies.
The study’s results show that journalists hold different notions about sustainable regencies, including that these are regencies that preserve their natural assets to be used as a source of income and, thereby, improve the community's social and economic conditions; they are communities that are actively involved in protecting the environment; and regencies that have regulations aimed at protecting their natural resources.
The majority of respondents in this study deem the issue of sustainability to be relevant to the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic is seen as a reminder of the importance of developing non-extractive and more sustainable economic activities.
Economic development will be achieved if people are able to take advantage of the environment without damaging the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown us that we must improve economic and community governance in ways that they will shift their attention to environmental sustainability.
The respondents also gave several recommendations to LTKL as a regency government collaboration forum that aims to implement sustainable development. The majority of respondents agreed that the issue of sustainability is important, but it needs to be delivered to a more targeted audience in a creative way. Therefore, LTKL needs to strengthen its local media network through various approaches to increase journalists' understanding of the concept of a sustainable regency, as well as raise awareness about LTKL, its programs, as well its member regencies.