The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that the recent violence in East Timor has undermined the media’s ability to cover the political and social crisis as two daily newspapers have had their publishing interrupted during the crisis.
The IFJ has received several reports that journalists, like most workers, have not been going to work amid the ongoing fighting and disturbances in the capital Dili.
The fighting erupted on Monday May 22 and according to an IFJ affiliate, on May 23, the Timor Post daily newspaper stopped publishing as journalists and editors fled from the capital in fear of their safety, following the bloodshed and anarchy. Another newspaper, Suara Timor Lorosae, has also had publishing interrupted.
The media offices have reportedly been under attack during the tension as people try to steal office equipment.
The Sindicato dos Jornalistas de Timor Leste (SJTL) and the Timor Lorosa’e Journalists’ Association (AJTL) have organised a meeting today to talk about the media situation and journalists’ response.
“Journalists must always be allowed to freely report the news,” said Christopher Warren, president of IFJ, the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.
“It is especially important in times of conflict for any country, and just as important for a new nation such as East Timor,” said Warren.
“The IFJ calls on all parties to respect the independence of journalists and media, and respect journalists’ safety so that journalists can safely perform their jobs,” said the IFJ president.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries