23.07.2018 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Dili Dialogue Forum Reaffirms Press Freedom in Timor-Leste

Building a Network to Strengthen Media Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

The importance of freedom of the press and the role of professional journalism for democracy in Timor-Leste were reaffirmed during the Dili Dialogue Forum that took place on 19 and 20 July in Dili.

More than 200 people participated in forum with the theme “Building a Network to Strengthen Media Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Southeast Asia and the Pacific” that was organized by the Timor-Leste Press Council. International experts on media self-regulation from Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Australia, and the United States were also present to share their experience and expertise.

The Secretary of State for Social Communication, H.E. Mr. Mericio “Akara” Juvenal dos Reis opened the event while H.E. Mr. Roy Trivedy, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste and Mr. Virgilio da Silva Guterres, Chairperson of the Timor-Leste Press Council delivered their welcome messages to the participants. A special message from H.E. Dr. Shahbaz Khan, the Director and Representative for UNESCO Jakarta was also read out. Former President of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Jose Ramos Horta was one of the keynote speakers of the forum.

“The media has an important role to play in nation building and is a vital pillar to Timor-Leste’s democracy” said Mr. Mericio Akara. This sentiment was echoed in both Mr. Trivedy and Dr. Khan’s message to the forum where the role of independent, pluralistic and free media is indispensable for Timor-Leste as it continues to grow and develop.

A range of topics were discussed at the event, which was the first international conference in the country after the recent election which concluded on 28 May. Speakers and members of the audience had lively discussions on issues including the role media during election, the challenges of social media for journalists, the role of self-regulation and code of ethics in promoting quality journalism.

UNESCO with the support from the Netherlands is working with Timor-Leste Press Council to strengthen self-regulatory mechanisms and journalism education in the country in a three-year project.

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