Indonesian Regions Score Poorly in Transparency Study

8 June 2015

Transparency is poor among among regional governmental in Indonesia, according to a study by R. Alam Surya Putra, Senior Program Officer the Asia Foundation.

Researchers sought access to government documents of relevance to land and forest governance issues “which should be available to the public under the Indonesia Freedom of Information Act. “

The report said that “most documents were found to be inaccessible to the community in all areas of study.”

“The transparency performance of most district governments for land and forest governance is poor.” according to the report which was presented at the 4th Global Conference on Transparency Research, held June 4-6 in Lugano, Switzerland.

”Out of 311 document requests, 188 (60.5%) were not responded to … 70 (22.5%) were responded to, though many of the responses were refusals to supply documents,” according to the research, which covered 9 regional governments. “The majority of documents obtained upon request could only be obtained after an objection letter was first delivered.”

“The central government has issued several regulations mandating transparency in land and forest governance,” the author reported. “Unfortunately, such regulations have not been fully implemented in the field.”

The research also covered factors such as participation and accountability, also found to be lacking.

Other findings regarding transparency included:

  • planning documents seem easier to access
  • licensing transparency “remains low”
  • “Districts that are about to organize regional elections are more reluctant to provide documents, particularly when incumbent district heads are running for reelection.
  • Systems used to disseminate information were weak.

The report concluded:

Constitutional guarantees and the enactment of the FoI act for more than five years have not yet been able to achieve transparency. The results of information request tests in this study indicate the reality of transparency in Indonesia. Good governance has yet to be achieved as participation, accountability and coordination cannot operate optimally without transparency. Government commitment at the central level to improve governance remains under question, as for the past five years, monitoring of the enactment of KIP has not been optimal. As a result, there are still many district governments that are unwilling to open up information on land and forest governance to the public.

 

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