UNESCO and the Netherlands to support self-regulation of the media in Timor-Leste

Self-regulation of the media in Timor-Leste is getting a strong boost through a collaboration between the Conselho de Imprensa de Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste Press Council) and UNESCO with a generous support from the Netherlands.

A professional and resilient media including the press is vital to a well-functioning democracy. Self-regulation of the media, where the media is regulated by peers and guided by a code of ethics, is one of the ways to ensure journalism maintain high professionalism yet flexible enough to adapt to the changing media landscape.

The 3-year long project “Strengthening Media Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Timor-Leste” will be managed by UNESCO with the financial support from the Netherlands. The objective of the project is to strengthen self-regulatory mechanisms of the media in Timor-Leste and in the long term to foster an enabling environment for a sustainable, free, independent, and professional media in the country.

The project will address various challenges facing self-regulatory mechanisms in the country through capacity building activities such as peer-to-peer training with international or regional experts, enhancing the knowledge of the Timor-Leste Press Council in the effective management and daily operation of a press council. It will also include the training of future Timor-Leste journalists and journalism students on the role of self-regulation including building their capacity to produce quality journalism.

Furthermore, the project will improve the sharing of good practices and experience with established regional and international press councils in a South-South and North-South modality. Also included in the project are awareness-raising activities on the role of self-regulatory mechanisms, dialogues on legal reform, and importance of free, independent and professional media through public symposiums, infographics, and animated videos.

UNESCO conducted a series of preparatory meetings with stakeholders in the country including with the Conselho de Imprensa de Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste Press Council), the National University of Timor-Leste (NUTL) and Universidade Oriental Timor Lorosa'e (UNITAL) in preparation of the official launch of the project in January 2018