IFJ Calls For The Rights Of Journalists In East Timor To Be Respected

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns yet another attack on media workers in East Timor and urges Australian peacekeeping troops to respect journalists’ rights following reports that a journalist had been detained unreasonably.

On June 12, a group of youths allegedly threw stones at two Timor Post media workers and according to local reports this violence was linked to articles criticising the East Timorese government.

“It is particularly worrisome that the situation in East Timor is not improving for journalists, and the IFJ again stresses how vital it is that journalists be able to safely report during this crisis”, said Christopher Warren, president of the IFJ, the organisation that represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.

The Timor Post has also reportedly received threats from Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri supporters.

The latest attacks come after reports some journalists have become internally displaced persons after their houses were burned down, with others going into hiding for fear of reprisals, and the Suara Timor Lorosae and the Timor Post were suspended for several days due to articles criticising the government.

The IFJ also urges Australian peacekeeping forces to respect the rights of journalists in East Timor after reports that José Belo, an AP stringer in East Timor, was detained by the peacekeepers for four hours on June 10.

Belo was reportedly treated with little respect and not informed by the Australian peacekeeping forces on the reason for his arrest.

“Journalists need as much support as they can get, especially in countries where they are targeted. The Australian peacekeeping forces should endeavour to respect the rights of journalists and allow them to report freely and without bias,’ said Warren.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries