AJI Calls on Journalists to Monitor Public Information Disclosure Law

[The following is a statement by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI)]

Commemorating International Right to Know Day, 28 September 2011, Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen/AJI) calls all journalists to monitor the implementation of Public Information Disclosure Law no. 14 of 2008 (Undang-Undang Keterbukaan Informasi Publik/UU KIP) which officially came into force on 30 April 2010.

As a result of the implementation of UU KIP, the public has the right to access information from public bodies – executive, legislative and judicial – which have all received funds allocated for this purpose.

“The implementation of UU KIP means that, consequently, no public body is allowed to refuse or hamper a public request for information,” says Nezar Patria, Director of AJI Indonesia.

AJI Indonesia notes that only nine Provincial Information Commissions (Komisi Informasi Provinsi/KIP) have been established since the official enactment of UU KIP on 30 April 2010; only one District Information Commission has been established, in Bangkalan. Meanwhile, most public bodies have not appointed Information and Documentation Managing Officers (Pejabat Pengelola Informasi dan Dokumentasi/PPID). This lack goes to show that UU KIP has not been effectively implemented.

To ensure its effective implementation, AJI calls for all public bodies to comply with the mandate of UU KIP accordingly and consistently. “If needed, AJI would set up a task force of journalists to implement UU KIP in a number of areas to make sure all public bodies in the areas provide information requested by the citizens, including journalists,” says Eko Maryadi, the head of the Advocacy Division of AJI Indonesia.

In relation to the benefit of UU KIP for journalists, AJI Director Nezar Patria adds that the era of open information should improve the quality of Indonesian journalism.

“In the past, state officials often refused journalists’ requests for public information by hiding behind the justification of “state secrets”. Now this answer is no longer acceptable,” says Nezar Patria. Public information should be open to all, as long as it is not categorized under “exempted information”. Nezar calls for all public bodies to comply with the mandate of UU KIP by appointing Information and Documentation Managing Officers and providing information service.

For those journalists who are refused access to information on the grounds of not having an adequate reason, he or she can take legal action such as filing a complaint against the Regional or Central Information Commission.

“In essence, refusal of public information requests by officials or public bodies can be put forward to the court,” says Eko Maryadi from the Advocacy Division of AJI Indonesia.

The Allansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists or AJI) (http://ajiindonesia.org/) is a founding member of SEAPA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, AJI seeks to promote press freedom and protect the rights of Indonesian journalists.

For further information, contact
1.       Nezar Patria, Director of AJI Indonesia, ph: +6281182935
2.       Eko Maryadi, Advocacy Division, ph: +62811852857

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