IGJ and GJU: Shaping civil society views on globalisation issues

Monday, 31 December 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Institute for Global Justice (IGJ) is a research-based advocacy NGO established in 2001, facilitated by INFID and some individual members of the Indonesian NGOs Monitoring Coalition on World Trade Organisation (Koalisi Ornop Pemantau WTO, or KOP-WTO). Rooted in Indonesian social movement and aimed as a part of global civil society network, IGJ envisions a ‘global justice order through social movements’ and aims to ‘deconstruct globalisation and facilitate social transformation in order to be critical towards globalisation through research, advocacy, education and networking activities’. There are three objectives that IGJ aspires to achieve, i.e. the development of critical awareness of the public about globalisation; the existence of local, national and global policy to protect and to appreciate life values and livelihood and a new world order based on pluralism, diversity, sustainability and justice (IGJ, 2001).

Website of the Institute for Global Justice (IGJ)
http://www.globaljust.org (visited 16/03/2007)

IGJ works with some 6 full-timers and a similar number of part-timers and manages IDR1-2 billion annually (approx USD111-222K). Established in the era when the Internet has been widely available in the centre of the metropolitan city of Jakarta, IGJ has adopted the technology since it was established. Using the 24/7 broadband connection, although with funnily fluctuating access speed as can always be expected in Indonesia, IGJ seems to be able to reap the benefit of the Internet to help achieve its objectives. And as IGJ works closely with its network, the benefits are also enjoyed by its partners.

Global Justice Update (GJU), the IGJ’s periodical, for example, is distributed not only to CSO partners in Java, but also to numerous CSOs across the archipelago. Currently distributed to around 500 organisations biweekly, mostly through direct emails and few mailing-lists, GJU is the most successful IGJ’s public communication channel so far. Unlike other NGOs’ publication, which only targets other NGOs or similar organisations, GJU also reaches out to various readers: students, policy-makers and the press. Since the topics brought out in this periodical are found to be informative and interesting (or simply provocative) by the general reader, it is not surprising to find the electronic version of GJU being re-distributed to a wider audience or in various mailing lists which IGJ did not initially target. Originally GJU was dedicated to provide the latest update about what is going on in the WTO negotiation for IGJ’s network, which mostly works on globalisation-related issues. But it has now evolved into a public education tool to build knowledge on globalisation. To IGJ, the Internet has been playing an important role to support the continuity of GJU because it dramatically reduces the printing and distribution cost which hampers most of other Indonesian NGOs’ publication programme. With the approximate printing and distribution cost at no less than IDR1.5 million (approx USD167) per edition, the amount will be astronomical to keep GJU in regular printed publication for a quite long period. Thus, distributing GJU electronically as a compressed PDF-file email attachment or as a downloadable link from IGJs’ website has enabled IGJ to save a significant amount of money.

This approach is deemed strategic, because IGJ would need a critical mass when it comes to organising movements: to run advocacy campaigns, to preparing advocacy works, or to mobilise wider public to take certain actions. Having public and various groups knowledgeable about the issues that IGJ and its networks are advocating have been proven important for the success of such campaigns. It is also for the sake of maintaining the network and to keep the continuity of the publication, that IGJ recently changed the electronic format of GJU from portable document (PDF) into rich text (RTF) format following suggestion from many other NGOs, who can only access the Internet via slow, low bandwidth connection. Clearly, for IGJ, the use of the Internet has facilitated the evolution of GJU from a mere publication into an effective organisational tool for public education, networking, campaign and advocacy. All this is central in contributing to the work of IGJ as a NGO taking a critical position about globalisation issue in Indonesian context.

Source: Observation and interview with Hanim (27-28/10/2005; 23/05/2006) and Setiawan (22/02/2006)
(PhD Thesis, Nugroho, 2007:221 – Box 6.6.)

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