JAKARTA – Although it had been applied since 1 May 2010, the Law Number 14 Year 2008 concerning the Public Information Freedom (UU KIP) is still apparently dead. The public body has not also implemented yet the mandate of UU KIP, and they are still trapped in the culture of public information closure. On the other hands, the same thing is also stated by Secretary General of the Alliance of Independent Journalist, Suwarjono, in the introduction of book launching, entitled “Menggedor Pintu, Mendobrak Sekat Informasi – Pengalaman Jurnalis Memohon Informasi Publik” at Jakarta, on Friday (9/3).
The book documented the experience of numerous journalists asking for public information. “the journalists’ effort in utilizing UU KIP in the stage of collecting public document and various data related to public policies shows that UU KIP has not been applied effectively yet. Beside that it is caused by the unpreparedness of the public body, UU KIP is also not implemented since the public body tends to ignore the existence of UU KIP,” said Suwarjono.
According to him, the public body still uses the old paradigm, in which all information related to the implementation of government’s duty and authority must be kept as a secret. Meanwhile, UU KIP obliges each executive, legislative, and judicative institution, as well as other bodies functioning to administer the country, and whose part or all fund generated from State Budget/ Regional Budget, to serve every request for public information from every citizen.
“The public body must be conscious that the disclosure of public information guaranteed by UU KIP is highly vital for democracy, transparency, and corruption eradication. The enactment of this Law demands consequences of the public bodies for no longer rejecting citizen who seeks for public information,” said Suwarjono.
The book of “Menggedor Pintu, Mendobrak Sekat Informasi – Pengalaman Jurnalis Memohon Informasi Publik” documented the effort of several journalists from various regions for using mechanism of public information request in order to collect the data and their material of coverage. Various stories behind the journalistic works that they produce are narrated in this book. The experience of a journalist from Jakarta like Kusti’ah, for example, shows that there is still a staff of Administration in Secretariat of Regional Representative Board of the Republic of Indonesia (DPD RI) who does not understand about the mechanism of public information request in UU KIP, and even not knowing the existence of Documentation and Information Management Official (PPID) in the Secretariat of DPD RI.
A journalist in Kudus, Muhammad Rofiuddin, also met an obstacle when accessing all documents and public information related to the use of tobacco revenue sharing fund. This happened because the Government of Kudus District had not PPID yet. Suwarjono stated that the journalists’ experience from various regions shall open the mind concerning the implementation of UU KIP. “There are still lots of problems related to the enactment of UU KIP. The implementation of UU KIP can be no longer suspended, because it is concerning the citizen’s constitutional right,” said he.
Program Officer of Tifa Foundation’s Public Information Freedom, Tanti Budi Suryani, states that various experiences of the journalists which are showing the weakness in the implementation of UU KIP shall not make the journalists top to propose numerous application for public information to various institutions.”It is hoped that (the journalist’s effort in requesting for public information) it will not stop until this point. It must be even followed by other journalists. The next home work is how we can motivate the access of proactive information by the public body and mechanism in order to be faster in gaining information from the public body. The collaboration between the journalist and the organization of civil society will become an elaborated joint. Thus, it is not only gaining a qualified media, but the public will also gain a lot more benefit from the presented information,” said Tanti.
According to her, the widely use of official documents is actually helping the journalist to change the quality of coverage presentation. In England, more than 1,000 reports covered with data quality and depth after the enactment of law concerning information freedom in England on 2005. ”The informed people are depending on the journalistic ability to gain access to the information source. Without such journalistic ability, people still can get a free and independent media, but for developing a democratic institution, the benefit of that media is very limited,” added Tanti.