Every September 28th, we celebrate the International Right to Know Day (RTKD). RTKD was declared in Sofia, Bulgaria, on September 28th, 2002. But it wasn’t until 2010 that Indonesia joined the celebration, which was initiated by Central Information Commission (Komisi Informasi Pusat/KIP) and Information Commissioner of Province -. The RTKD has been celebrated in more than 60 countries ever since.

There are several important values that you need to know about RTKD. First, everyone has the same level of right to access information. Second, the confidential information is the only exception. Third, the right to know is applied in every public institution in order to improve the quality of information request to be quicker, simpler, and free of charge. Public officers need to serve all the applicants well. If there’s a rejection of information request, it needs to be done properly based on the law.

Last Wednesday, KIP held an event in Dewan Pers Nasional’s Hall, Jakarta, and invited some people from the ministry and CSO. The event was held in order to raise awareness to Indonesian people that we have the same level of right to ask for public information to the public officers. The procedure is even protected by law. In fact, the transparency of public information in Indonesia has been applied in Indonesia since the establishment of UU No. 14 Tahun 2008 about the transparency of public information (UU KIP). And since May 1st, 2010, UU KIP has also been implemented in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the majority of Indonesian people have not known yet about it.

The right to know is the basic kind of right that has been guaranteed by our constitution, which is Pasal 28F UUD 1945. It says, “Every person has the right to communicate and get information to improve themselves and their social environment, also to search, obtain, own, save, process, and deliver information by utilizing every available channel.” So, it should become an obligation for the public officers to provide the information our people need.

But still, until this very day, people have to deal with some obstacles first in order to access information from public institutions. Meanwhile, the law about information transparency has been implemented since the last five years. This has something to do with the fact that not all government institutions, either it’s from ministry or public officers, has had a great understanding of UU KIP. Not to mention that the procedure takes a lot of time, energy, and expenses. This makes people reluctant to ask for information to the public institutions.

“We shouldn’t make people feel left behind during the controlling and monitoring processes of government performance. This is important because we should provide proper accommodation to maximize the national development. And in order to do that, we need the transparency of public information.”

The director of Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), Christian Bob Purba, said through his speech in RTKD event yesterday, “We shouldn’t make people feel left behind during the controlling and monitoring processes of government performance. This is important because we should provide proper accommodation to maximize the national development. And in order to do that, we need the transparency of public information.”

He also added, “FWI has gone through two disputes in KIP against The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and The Ministry of ATR/BPN.” Regarding the dispute with KLHK, it took 24 months for FWI to get the information about the dispute in KIP and PTUN. As for the dispute with BPN, it actually has been going on for nine months in KIP and now is being handled by PTUN. It was because BPN appealed their case to the court after KIP decided that the information requested by FWI is transparent. It is indeed a very long and exhausting process, but such thing cannot be ignored easily. Every single institution needs to be open for critics and look forwards for improvements.

FWI and the other CSO, who are concerned about this issue, are more than ready to fight for the information transparency. Along with local community, they will continue to fight for public information in order to achieve a better national development in Indonesia.

Source : Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI)

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