Training is central to the awareness-raising and capacity building aspects of CLD’s work:
Myanmar: Workshops on Broadcasting and Print Laws
The Government of Myanmar has made a strong public commitment to undertake a programme of democratisation, including through creating an environment in which freedom of expression is respected. A key part of this will be to create an enabling legal environment for a free media, adopting new democratic laws and repealing or amending the many repressive laws which still remain in force in the country. As first steps, the Government is planning to adopt new press and broadcasting laws.
To provide expertise on relevant international standards as well as better national practice, International Media Support (IMS) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) organised two one-day workshops in Myanmar, one on broadcast regulation in the new capital, Naypyidaw, on 23 April 2012, and another on print media regulation in Yangon on 25 April. The workshops, attended by senior government officials, civil society and media representatives, provided an excellent opportunity to discuss key regulatory issues relating to both media sectors.
The signs from Myanmar about commitment to reform are very positive. At the same time, the challenges of moving from an environment of extensive government control over the media to greater respect for freedom of expression are very significant. Putting in place a good legal framework will be an important early step in this process.
On March 8, 2012, CLD and the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) conducted a workshop in Jakarta on the right to information. The seminar was conducted at the invitation of the Supreme Court and featured a keynote presentation from one of Australia’s foremost jurists, the Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG. Among those in attendance were Sultony Mohdally, Supreme Court Judge, Regional Attorney General Suhendra, senior representatives from the Indonesian National Police Headquarters, and several judges and Information Commission representatives, who travelled from around Indonesia to attend the workshop.
RTI Training for Indonesian Civil Society Representatives and Journalists
As part of our ongoing work to promote the right to information in Indonesia, in June 2011 CLD co-hosted a series of workshops in Jakarta, Surabaya and Lampung between June 22 and June 29. These meetings, which were attended by journalists and representatives from several major civil-society initiatives, were designed to educate and inform participants about their rights under Indonesia’s Act on Public Information Transparency, as well as to provide procedural information on how to go about making information requests, and how to deal with obstruction by public agencies. Participants were also able to hear from representatives from the regional Information Commissions, who offered practical guidance on how to maximize their chance of success when seeking information from public authorities.
In preparation for the workshops CLD, in cooperation with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), prepared a manual on the right to information in Indonesia which can be accessed both in English and in Bahasa Indonesia. As part of this program CLD has also produced a series of brochures on the right to information in Indonesia.
By empowering local organizations with the tools to use Indonesia’s RTI legislation, CLD anticipates that these and other likeminded organizations will be better able to perform their role as agents of government accountability. CLD also hopes to foster a culture of greater transparency by forcing public agencies to confront the reality of their new responsibilities to disclose, as well as by raising general public awareness about the importance of the right to information, as well as how to use it.