Indonesia: Govt bows to request for forest documents

The Jakarta Post 16 Feb 16;

The Environment and Forestry Ministry released documents that had been demanded by the Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) on Monday after a lengthy legal dispute centering on open access to information.

The FWI sued last year the ministry at the Central Information Commission (KIP) for refusing to release what the ministry deemed to be confidential documents.

The KIP then delivered a ruling in favor of the FWI, after which the ministry filed an appeal with the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN). The ministry, however, lost again.

“This afternoon’s ceremony shows that we as the government are very concerned with open access to public information,” the ministry’s spokesman, Novrizal, said during the submission of the documents in Central Jakarta.

The documents requested are the Annual Production Forest Working Plan (RKT-HT), 283 documents of the Industrial Material Fulfillment Plan (RPBBI) for volumes of more than 6,000 square meters, 222 documents of the Natural Forest Working Plan (RKU-HA) and the Timber Exploitation Permits (IPK).

The ministry’s secretary for the director general of sustainable forest products management, Sakti Hadengganan, said that the government initially refused to disclose the documents to the FWI because it had to listen to input from timber companies that did not want sensitive data to be misused against them.

“We listened to the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires [APHI] before and we couldn’t ignore them. In democracy, the government has to listen to everyone,” he said.

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