DISCLOSURE IS NOT POLITICAL GENEROSITY

As part of the effort to promote principles of open governance and anti-corruption, we have once again published a book on the experiences of non-governmental organization (NGO) activists advocating for public disclosure. This book is an important read for legislators, members of the government bureaucracy, academics, and even NGO activists themselves.

After reading this book, the reader will be assured that public information is power and that public information disclosure is not a product born of the state's generosity. The closure of public information is the mode of maintaining the inequality of power relations. Therefore, the people must fight for public information, as part of their struggle to regain sovereignty in a democratic country. The problem of public information disclosure should be seen as a political problem. More political approaches are needed to complement technocratic and legalistic approaches.

This book also reiterates the thesis of Amartya Sen, in his book Development as Freedom, that transparency does not stand alone as a freedom. Instead, there are other interacting freedoms, namely political freedom, the guarantee of economic facilities, social opportunities, and protection of the marginalized. Thus, efforts to create open governance should always consider the social, economic, and political context as well.

This volume also illustrates the size of the contribution and role of civil society in creating open governance in Indonesia. It can be said that civil society was a pioneer for the birth of the Public Information Disclosure Law and a bodyguard for its implementation.

Such is the common thread of this reflective anthology of NGO activists. In addition to offering hope, this book also offers a variety of lessons regarding the difficulty of promoting public disclosure in a country undergoing a political transition towards democracy.

In the midst of attention from lawmakers on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Public Information Disclosure Act, this book comes as a contribution from civil society to present evaluative notes from the field.

Appreciation and thanks are due to the authors, editors, and our colleagues at the secretariat of TI Indonesia, who had spared their time and dedicated their thoughts to produce this book. May it be of benefit.

Jakarta, May 2014

Dadang Trisasongko
Secretary General of Transparency International Indonesia

Download the Book Citizen Engagement Stories:
Fighting Corruption from Campaign to Social Audit