18 June 2014

Confusion reigns over Timor-Leste’s controversial new media law

ETLJB 18/06/2014  Pacific Scoop 15/06/2014 Special Report – By Shannon Gillies in Dili

Confusion reigns over a controversial media law adopted by Parliament but yet to be promulgated in the fledgling Asia-Pacific democracy of Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste parliamentarians have adopted a new media law that does not differentiate between journalists and social media users, will impose licensing for journalists and a narrow definition of a “journalist” and potentially bars foreign journalists.

Journalists are expected to fall into line with the government’s media definitions and foreign reporters could be blocked at the country’s borders.Parliament passed the law on May 6 that impacts on the press and rights of freedom of speech. The President, Taur Matan Ruak, has 30 days to examine the law and has the right to veto it and send it back to Parliament with any concerns he may have.

The law is available in Portuguese, which only a limited number of the Timor-Leste population understands, and the indigenous national language Tetun. Read the full article here.

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