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Timor-Leste to set up media regulatory body

Dili Weekly - October 14, 2014

Paulina Quintao – Timor-Leste will create a new institution to regulate media.

Secretary of State for Social CommunicationNelio Isaac Sarmento said the organ would regulate media to assure information provided to the public was of a high standard.

"There is no law to ban media services but it's important to protect those who bring the truth to the people of this country and ensure they understand the information," he said at the close of the 3rd Platform Entity Regulator (PER) meeting during the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) conference.

He said the regulator would oversee the work of all media organizations in an increasingly globalized society. Timor-Leste is the president of the CPLP PER committee for 2014-2015.

Sarmento told those assembled that all CPLP nations must work to strengthen the PER committee by putting together a database of all media outlets in each member nation to conduct a comparative study as well as to provide training in linguistics and law.

"We agree to share the experiences of our Timorese communications law graduates with other CPLP nations," he said.

Commission A (constitutional issues, justice, public administration, local authorities and anti-corruption) member Antonino Bianco said the objective of the state in creating the new regulator and media laws was to raise the quality of reporting in Timor-Leste and enable its media organizations to compete with those from other nations.

He said the laws and regulator would protect journalists and media organizations within the nation as well as their audiences.

Journalist Paulino Quintas said though he agreed regulation was important in a fledgling nation such as Timor-Leste, limits were needed to the regulator's powers.

"The regulators must not be able to control everything but space must be given for people to work freely and responsible; that's important," he said.

He warned the government against trying to put limits on press freedom which he said was integral to development and the expression of ideas by leaders and others. "We hope that this initiative is not aimed at curtailing our freedoms but at strengthening the system which exists," he said.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/news/12742-timor-leste-to-set-up-media-regulatory-body