The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes a commitment by East Timor’s Government to ensure attacks on the media, such as a military police assault on a staff member of the East Timor Post at the weekend, do not occur again.
Senior layout editor Agustinho Ta Pasea suffered cuts and bruises to his face after being beaten and arrested by military police early on Saturday morning as he took a computer file of the paper’s weekend edition to the printers in Dili, according to reports.
Post editor Mouzinho De Araujo told The Australian newspaper that Ta Pasea said he was stopped at 2am on February 23, beaten by military police and taken to a police station where he was assaulted again. Ta Pasea was reportedly held for 11 hours for breaking Dili’s 10pm-6am curfew.
De Araujo said he had lodged a formal complaint with police and the Government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
East Timor’s Secretariat of State Security has issued a formal apology on behalf of the Government for the use of “unjustified force”, and said the security forces would ensure incidents of this kind are not repeated.
“East Timor is undergoing a very difficult period of instability, but security forces ordered to enforce emergency measures must also be made aware of the rights of all citizens, including journalists, not to be assaulted,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
“The work of journalists is essential to ensuring the provision of information to the people of East Timor at such crucial time for the country, and should not be put at risk of physical attack or intimidation at the hands of security forces.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries