The existence of Law No. 14 of 2008 concerning Public Information Disclosure, has issued a glimmer of hope for the empowerment of civil society in Indonesia. This law has become a good precedent for efforts to build a progressive democratic system. This law has also become part of the history of the struggle of civil society in Indonesia in fighting for their basic rights.
However, that hope is now a little disturbed by the emergence of a phenomenon in Batam, Riau Islands. A group of students at Batam Putera University (UPB) submitted a request for information in the form of copies of answer sheets for the 5th midterm exam for 8 courses and copies of the 5th midterm exam question sheets for 8 courses (KI Decision Number 003/VII/KI-Kepri-PS/ 2013 Article 2.2). However, the efforts of students who have used the mechanism regulated in Law no. 14 of 2008 must reap the “punishment”.
Of the 11 students who submitted information, there were 2 students who were dropped out and 5 students who were suspended with the same accusation; “violating the UPB rules chapter IV article 5 point 16: attitudes and actions that can undermine and bring down the good name of the UPB almameter” (based on Putra Batam University Regulations chapter IV article 5 point 16)”.
In its development, the Riau Archipelago Information Commission decided that the information was public information and required the university to immediately provide the requested information to the applicant.
However, the university did not accept the KI’s decision, and asked for an appeal to the local district court. The court’s efforts to mediate have not yielded results. On the other hand, the university actually punished the students who requested the information. The decision-making process at the university level through a Senate Meeting which is unilateral and does not involve the authorities is a violation of Human Rights.
This phenomenon is a symptom of a setback from the struggle of civil society in fighting for their right to freedom to obtain information. Attempts to “backattack” from opponents of the flow of freedom of information must certainly be resisted. This event is certainly very counterproductive to the flow of openness in Indonesia and the international community.
The trial process for the appeal of the decision of the Riau Archipelago IC at the Batam District Court also indicated irregularities. The Batam District Court seems to have violated Supreme Court Regulation (MA) Number 2 of 2011 concerning Procedures for Settlement of Public Information Disputes in Court.
For this reason, the Coalition for the Freedom of Information Network Indonesia (FOINI) expressed its stance on this case that the Information Disclosure Network in Indonesia condemns any countermeasures against citizens who exercise their right to information as guaranteed in the 1945 Constitution and UU KIP.
Therefore the Coalition urges:
- Batam City District Court to follow and implement Supreme Court Regulation (MA) Number 2 of 2011 concerning Procedures for Settlement of Public Information Disputes in Court.
- Students who are subject to “punishment” must remain consistent and trustworthy in their attitude in fighting for freedom of information.
- UPB to immediately comply with the decision of the Riau Archipelago KI.
- Police to be more professional in processing any complaints or reports related to information disputes.
- All Information Commissions in Indonesia to make the decisions of the Riau Islands ICRC as “jurisprudence” in deciding similar information disputes.
Jakarta, 12 November 2013
Freedom of Information Network Indonesia Coalition (FOINI)
Freedom of Information Network Indonesia
Jl. Intan No. 81, West Cilandak. South of Jakarta 12430 Tel:+62-21-7591 5546
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org