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Transparency leads to blackmail?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Jakarta Post reported several months ago, that the State Audit agency (BPK) cease the publication of companies financial audit report due to blackmailing concerns. According to the article:



The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has stopped publishing online reports, to the dismay of freedom of information proponents. The agency said the state institutions it audited had complained that it was “too open”. BPK provided reports through the Internet even before the 2008 Law on Freedom of Information was implemented this year.


But reports of blackmail prompted the agency to close the online access, requiring information seekers to submit official letters to obtain a hard copy of reports. A public relations staffer of BPK, who requested anonymity, said, “The state institutions have been complaining that we were too open.” “[The institutions] said the reports had been used to blackmail them,” the source said recently.

Why fear blackmail if you are right? One of the possible reason is the corruption witch-hunt. The eradication of corruption in Indonesia is somewhat turning into a witch-hunt (a colleague in the UK is researching this for his Ph.D in Anthropology). Dealing with KPK and the Prossecutor office is cumbersome. This provides a disincentive for being transparent.

How do we handle this? Well, we need to provide more incentive for being more transparent. Transparency should not be used only for displaying the rotten apples of an organization, but also in highlighting the hidden jewels. This is what expert called a ‘targetted transparency’, which are conducted through, among other, publication of performance target benchmarked against certain a set of indicators.

Img source:mediaindonesia.com