Subject: Timor Lorosae Journalists Association to Meet 7 Dec -- 10 Dec, 2000

Dear Friends

The Timor Lorosae Journalists Association will be holding their inaugural congress between 7 Dec -- 10 Dec, 2000.

The following is the funding proposal submitted to the various donors and agencies yesterday. There are some slight changes in the proposal -- UNESCO has given a grant to the South-East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA) to act as a mentor to TLJA in the lead-up to the congress.

Any help -- money, volunteers, equipment, stationary, etc will be greatly appreciated.

Sonny Inbaraj


The basic requirements of a democratic media system should be that it is representative of the rich diversity of interests and opinions in Timor Lorosae society, that it is accessible to all Timor Lorosae citizens so that their voices may be heard, and that it lives up to its responsibility to provide people with a broad range of views and information.

Building a truly democratic media system is a critical policy challenge of the new Timor Lorosae because who gets represented in the media, what gets left out, and how people, things, and events are portrayed have important consequences for the kind of society Timor Lorosae will emerge in the era of globalization . Without a vigorous and democratic news media, public policy debates in Timor Lorosae will become even more narrowly defined and dominated by political and corporate elites.

In the light of these concerns, it is important that the role of journalists in Timor Lorosae be acknowledged as agents in educating and mobilizing the public in resisting any encroachments on their rights to receive and impart information, ideas and opinion.

In order to report and interpret situations in such a way that everyone can have confidence in what they read, hear and view ­ and that in the process no one has his or her privacy improperly infringed ­ it is important that journalists in Timor Lorosae be given specific protection, including editorial independence and recognition of the confidentiality of their journalistic sources. Also, it is important that journalists in the country belong to a professional body to promote a culture based on honest, clean and fair values.

The Timor Lorosae Journalsists Association (TLJA) was formed on 22 December 1999, in the capital Dili, as an independent, non-governmental organisation for the purpose of promoting press freedom and freedom of expression in Timor Lorosae.

TLJA’s Aims and Objectives are:

1. To promote respect and recognition for press freedom of expression in Timor Lorosae;

2. To provide protection and support for journalists and writers engaged in the lawful pursuit of their professional duties;

3. To promote the highest standards of professional ethics, integrity, training and conduct in the journalism profession;

4. To bring about a conducive social and legal atmosphere for the practice of journalism, and ensure the protection of the journalist’s right not to be compelled to work against his or her conviction or disclose confidential sources of information;

5. To support the personal growth and professional empowerment of women in newsrooms;

6. To foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian and gay issues and to oppose newsroom bias against lesbians, gay men and all other minorities;

7. To establish a forum for the independent monitoring and tracking of media conglomerates and to legally challenge corporate takeovers and media monopolies;

8. To promote and defend public service broadcasting and alternative forms of media ownership as effective counterweights to the increasing concentration of media power in private hands;

9. To build alliances and share information with individuals, media workers and public interest organizations, both in Timor Lorosae and abroad, concerned about the lack of freedom and accountability in the media.

TLJA is in the process of securing its own premises and setting up office. A mentor from the South-East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA), funded by UNESCO will be in Dili in the month leading up to the association's first congress.

TLJA’s First Congress

It was unanimously decided at a TLJA Steering Committee Meeting, on 1 Oct 200, that the association’s first congress be held between 7 Dec to 10 Dec.

The first day, 7 Dec, would be a reminder for all East Timorese on how their rights were violated when the Indonesians launched their invasion 25 years ago. The last day, 10 Dec, is significant because of World Human Rights Day and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of speech ­ which has broad implications for the rights of journalists the world over.

The editors-in-chief of the various publications agreed that the number of delegates to the Congress be fixed at 150 and will be from the following media organizations:

Timor Post, Lalenok, Talitakum, Suara Timor Lorosae, Hakilar, Babadok, Lian Maubere, Direto, Kuda Ulun, Tolas, Vanguarda, Matebian Post (Baucau), Radio UNTAET, Radio Falintil, RTK, TVTL.

The sessions in the four-day congress will be in the following areas:

1. Press freedom 
2. Investigative journalism 
3. Violence against journalists 
4. Rights of journalists 5. Media ownership 
6. Globalization and its implications 
7. Networking and regional alliances 
8. Press Council to address public complaints 
9. Independence and neutrality 
10. Code of ethics for journalists

The foreign speakers to be invited are:

1. Kavi Chongkittavorn ­ The Nation, Deputy Editor/ South East Asia Press Alliance director

2. Lin Neumann ­ Committee to Protect Journalists, Adviser SEAPA

3. Tarja Virtanen ­ UNESCO, West Samoa

4. Andreas Harsono, Institute for the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), Jakarta

5. Steven Gan, Editor SEAPA/CPJ

6. Johanna Son ­ Asia-Pacific Director Inter Press Service, Bangkok

7. Hamish MacDonald, Foreign Editor, Sydney Morning Herald


TLJA Contacts:

Aderito Hugo da Costa ­ Editor-in-chief, Timor Post +61/407-180831

Virgilio da Silva Guterres ­ Editor-in-chief, Lalenok +61/419-364354

UNTAET Contact:
Sonny Inbaraj ­ Acting Head Media Development Unit, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Dili, HQ  +61/417-815159

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