The emergence of an understanding of the importance of principles of good governance in the mid-1990s has had a quite significant impact on the evolution of the Indonesian polity. This fact was evident in the second amendment to the Constitution which guarantees the right of every citizen to obtain information. Recognition of this right was a breath of fresh air in the new democratic way of life in Indonesia. This was especially so given that, during the New Order Government of President Soeharto, information—especially information bearing on public policy—was the exclusive preserve of, and monopolized by, those in power. The community was simply not able to obtain information and so its role in the development process was very weak.
Law No. 14/2008 concerning freedom of access to public information (known as UU KIP) contains detailed provisions on how the right to information can be exercised in practice. The law calls for a paradigm shift on the part of all government-funded elements of the body politic—the executive, legislature, judiciary and all other institutions. UU KIP has been a breath of fresh air for budget advocacy work which is always confronted with the problem of obtaining copies of budgetary information. With UU KIP’s entry into force, information relating to policies, programs, activities and budgets of public institutions became public information that has to be made available to, and can be accessed by the public.
To help accelerate implementation of UU KIP, the National Secretariat of the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Seknas FITRA) conducted a study by lodging requests for budget information with 118 national-level public institutions and assessing their responses. On the basis of the study’s findings (outlined in this booklet), FITRA has concluded that a satisfactory standard of freedom of information service is not yet being provided; that the quality of freedom of information services varies from institution to institution; and that public access to budgetary information remains disappointing. FITRA also makes several recommendations to help improve this situation.