Assessment of media development in Timor-Leste

Based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators

Only gaining effective independence from Indonesia in 1999 and formally declaring its independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has had a turbulent recent history, including decades of struggle against Indonesian occupation. This Report assesses the overall state of media development in Timor-Leste in light of these difficulties.  It takes into account the special challenges facing the country, including its relative poverty, small population, geographic isolation and the wider challenges associated with its recent emergence from colonial rule and foreign occupation.

The Media Development Indicators (MDIs) Assessment in Timor-Leste was completed in 2011. Timor-Leste’s political instability and problems with its democratic elections post-independence led to difficulties creating a Constitution and legislation relating to media. The laws left over from the the Indonesian Civil Code were inapplicable to the current situation of the country. When a working government was formed in 2009, the new laws proposed were strongly criticised by both local civil society organisations and members of the international community.

The Report found the adoption of legislation in accordance with international standards a priority. Further recommendations were for the establishment of an independent body to ensure the regulation of broadcasting licensing in the public interest through a transparent process involving civil society.  A pressing need to increase the accessibility of quality access to the Internet and other communications technologies was also revealed.

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This assessment is based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), which were endorsed in 2008 by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). MDIs, which cover all aspects of media development, define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. They are being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.

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