WALHI Rejects Freedom of Information Ruling

The Bali Chapter Friends of the Earth (WALHI-Bali) have appealed a decision by the Indonesian Procedural Court (PTUN) for the Freedom of Information Commission (KI) that blocked efforts to obtain correspondence and feasibility studies in connection with the construction of an LNG Depot in Sidakarya, South Denpasar.

As reported by Detik.com, WALHI had lodged its objections in an appeal filed online (e-court) challenging KI’s decision (Number 002/IV/KEP.KI BALI/2023) that rejected the environmentalist group’s efforts to obtain information from the Forestry and Environmental Service (DKLH).

As the appellant in an unsuccessful freedom-of-information lawsuit, WALHI-Bali sought minutes of meetings for the Tahura Ngurah Rai Mangrove Conservation Site, proposals for cooperation with the Depot’s developer – PT Dewata Energi Bersih (DEB), and relevant feasibility studies for the project.

The legal spokesperson for WALHI-Bali, I Wayan Adi Sumiarta, rejects the decision of the PTUN and KI, saying that WALHI had conclusively shown that the sought-after documents were in the hand of the defendant – the Forestry and Environmental Service (DKLH). WALHI had proven before the PTUN the existence and location of key letters and documents related to the management of Ngurah Rai Tahura Mangrove Conservation Site.

Because of the proof presented, I Wayan Adi Sumiarta, insist that the Information Commission for the Province of Bali had made an erroneous ruling by denying the demanded documents were in the possession of DKLH-Bali.

More basically, as set forth in the appeal, the WALHI lawyer pointed out that under Freedom of Information Legislation and related regulations, there is nothing in the law declaring as secret and forbidding the disclosure of information to a public community organization.

In the original proceeding, KI Commissioners declared the information being sought by WALHI-Bali was not “public information” but was, instead, protected “business secrets.” The lawyer representing WALHI no “test of consequences” took place during the freedom of information adjudication process that would have been necessary to seek the protection of the document as trade secrets. “Because of this,” said Adi Sumiarta, “the decision of the Council of Commissioners for KI is unacceptable.”

Adi Sumiarta also offered detailed arguments supporting his view that the Freedom of Information Commission violated established regulations governing the procedures on how a case is reviewed.

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