Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 70,736 confirmed infections, 3,417 deaths (9 July 2020)
6 July 2020 (closed)
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Indonesia is one of the few nations around the globe that is yet to ratify the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC mandates strict limits on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, production, sale, distribution and taxation in order to protect people from the negative health, social, environmental and economic consequences of cigarette consumption or exposure to cigarette smoke. However, it will be a cold day in hell before Indonesia ratifies the FCTC.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Indonesia does not need to follow other countries by signing the FCTC. Instead, Indonesia has its own policies regarding health and cigarette consumption, he said. He added that - although the government is concerned about the negative health affects of smoking - the international community should also understand that there are millions of farmers and cigarette industry workers in Indonesia who rely on cigarette consumption.
Moreover, it could be that the government has been reluctant to sign the FCTC because a significant portion of government revenue (some 5 percent) originates from the cigarette tax and customs (imported cigarettes). It is interesting to note that Indonesia's media institutions obtain a solid portion of their revenues through cigarette advertisement and - interestingly enough - several of Indonesia's big media institutions are owned by politicians (or politically-linked businessmen).
It has also been speculated that the Indonesian government has close-knit relationships with major cigarette companies, a relationship that includes sponsorship and donations.
According to the WHO a total of 180 countries have already ratified the FCTC. Together these countries cover around 90 percent of the world population.