Scant Progress on Freedom Of Information Law: ICW

The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia Corruption Watch on Sunday expressed distress at what it said was the slow implementation of the year-old freedom of information law. 

According to the details of the Public Disclosure Act, ratified last May, each province must within two years establish a commission tasked with handling information requests from the public. 

However, after one year, only eight out of 33 provinces have set up such information commissions, said Agus Sunaryanto, head of the investigative unit at ICW. 

Agus, speaking at a discussion on the implementation of the law, known as the KIP, said a lack of funding was responsible for the slow progress. 

He also said there needed to be a campaign to educate the public on the benefits and uses of the KIP law. 

The measure is considered a breakthrough for governance reform in this nation. Indonesia is the seventh country in Asia to enact such a law. 

It obliges all bodies funded by taxpayer money to regularly disclose and update information regarding their institutions, and to provide easy access to information for those who request it. 

The eight existing provincial commissions are located in Central Java, East Java, West Java, Banten, Garontolo, Riau Islands, South Sulawesi and Lampung. But according to Agus, only four of those are operating effectively. 

“Unfortunately, although there are eight provincial commissions for public information, there are only four that work properly by handling the public information,” Agus said. 

“It works in Central Java, East Java, Banten and also Riau Islands province.” 

ICW researcher Tama Satrya Langkun said provincial governments needed to make a commitment to provide the commissions with enough funding. 

“Central Java for instance, although the Central Java Commission for Public Information has been working properly and the government has been responsive to responding to the public’s demand to establish [the commission], the regional government has reduced the funding for them from Rp 2 billion to Rp 1 billion [$234,000 to $117,000] in 2011,” he said. 

The KIP also called for the central government to establish up a commission within one year of the issuing of the regulation. That body has already been established.

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