Subject: UNOTIL's Daily Media Review 22 December 2005


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Thursday, 22 December 2005

National Media Reports

Fr. Martinho Gusmão: Defamation law will impact journalists' profession

The defamation law which will begin to be implemented from January 2006 has incited a serious debate among civil society in particular the media, who feel that they will be greatly impacted by the law. The opposition factions in the National Parliament have also expressed their dissatisfaction, concerned that the law will kill democracy in this country. With these concerns, the Timor-Leste Journalists Association (AJTL) on Wednesday held a one-day workshop where a range of speakers who aired their concerns on the law. Fr. Martinho Gusmão said that the law insults the journalism profession, and that psychologically it will have an impact on journalists' work because it will create fear in reporting. (TP, DT, JND)

Indonesian Ambassador counters visa concerns

Indonesian Ambassador to Timor-Leste Ahmed Bey Sofwan says that he has not heard of any Timorese students using tourist visas to study in Indonesia. Responding to queries on the matter after meeting with President Gusmão on Wednesday, Ambassador Sofwan said that there are currently approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Timorese students studying in Indonesia. He said that possibly these students first entered Indonesia on tourist visas, but that it is not difficult for them to then get student visas, once the student has registered at an educational institution. (TP)

Three Ambassadors present credentials to President Gusmão

President Gusmão on Wednesday received Letters of Credentials from the Ambassadors to three countries, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand. The President welcomed the credentials, praising the three Ambassadors and their respective countries. He expressed his faith in the development of good relations between Poland and Timor-Leste, praised Singapore's commitment to bilateral assistance for Timor-Leste's development, and expressed his appreciation for New Zealand's assistance in providing scholarships to Timorese students. (STL, TP, DT)

President of Commission D of National Parliament threatened to resign

It is reported that President of Commission D of National Parliament responsible for Agriculture, Fishery and Environment, Flavio da Silva, threatened to resign partly due to the regret and unsatisfactory gesture from his part over the hidden and one-sided decision of the Parliament's Administration Department to cancel the visit of the Commission to Oecussi District.

The official visit of the Commission to Oecussi, planned for 13 December, had been officially agreed by the plenary session and received official permission from the President of National Parliament Francisco Guterres "Lu-Olo" in accordance with the internal regiment. In yesterday's plenary session, da Silva angrily expressed his anger in a written note addressed to the President of Parliament, demanding him to immediately look into the matter and find an alternative solution for it.

"If the case is not dealt with soon, then there will be no solution. If in the future the condition continues as it is now, I will be ready to resign from the post," da Silva said. In response to the protest launched by his fellow parliamentarian, President Lu-olo said that he appreciated the fact that Mr. da Silva openly and strongly expressed his protest over the work of Parliament's Administration Department. According to Lu-Olo, such protest will be able to improve the work-plan of the visits of the Commissions, adding that as parliamentarians, they have the obligation to strengthen the legislative institution in order to function better and effectively in the future. (STL)

Lu-Olo appealed to MPs to consider TFC seriously and sincerely

President of National Parliament Francisco Guterres "Lu-Olo" appealed to all MPs to consider the policy of Truth and Friendship Commission in a serious and sincere manner. It is reported that the appeal was made in relation to the political statement presented officially by the President of Timor's People Party (PPT), Jacob Xavier in yesterday's plenary session.

PPT's statement stated that those who demand that the United Nations establish an international tribunal, means that they wish to have war again with Indonesia, adding that if justice is put aside, then Timor-Leste wants to create friendship with Indonesia in order to live in prosperity in the future. "For us, as the people's representatives, it is important that we analyse TFC's policy from various perspectives, " Lu-Olo said. In addition, Lu-Olo said that since it is democracy, it will be much better to create space for civil societies to express their opinions on CTF. "Let them speak. Then, we will look into the matter and consider how to make decisions in favour of the people's interests." (STL)

Martins: Police intervene Timor Block Building due to security

PNTL Commander Paulo Fatima Martins said the police intervened against lawyer Angelo Neves of NGO Advokasaun Tane Timor because of mobilising people to enter a residential/property area without authorisation. Martins said the tranquility of those living in the area was disrupted by the workers and added that the detention of the lawyer was legal. "First the police ordered the lawyer to leave the area, but he reacted against the police, they thus had to take other measures to defend themselves," the PNTL commander said. (STL)

Vice Minister, Barris: PNTL will establish another 15 border posts and will recruit in Jan. 2006

Speaking after his meeting with the Commission B of the National Parliament, Vice Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris, told media that as of January 2006 PNTL will start a new recruitment process of police officers in order to enhance the requirement of police personnel at the border areas. It was also reported that apart from Vice Minister Alcino Barros, the General Commandant of PNTL and the Director of Immigration also attended the meeting. Meanwhile, TP reports Vice Minister Barris as confirming that PNTL will also try to establish 15 border posts in the regions of Suai, Maliana and Oecussi districts. (STL, TP)

TVTL News Headlines 21-12-2005

Ø CAVR Dissolved: The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) has been dissolved. The Commission was officially dissolved by President Xanana Gusmao and attended by members of parliament, government and diplomatic corps. In his speech, President Gusmao reportedly stated that the State will act transparently in regards to the CAVR report and that nothing will be closed.

Ø CPD-RDTL does not want to be recognised as former combatants: Speaking at a press conference held at CPD-RDTL's office in Balide, Dili, on Wednesday, the group's coordinator, Antonio Aitahan Matak, told journalists that his group does not need the Government to recognise them as former combatants. More importantly, Matak added was to establish an organic law that defends the rights of former combatants of the National Liberation. He reaffirmed that as long as all components of RDTL remain un-restored, his followers will neither register themselves at the Commissions for Former Combatants Association nor the Commission for Former Falintil veterans.

Ø Two Indonesians set free: Speaking to journalists recently in Dili, the General Commander of PNTL Paulo Fatima Martins reportedly stated that the two Indonesian citizens who were arrested in Batugade on suspicion of terrorist affiliation have been released. Martins said that the two were released after a joint investigation carried out by the Immigration Department and Interpol that found no evidence against the men.

Ø Police acted because they disturbed others: Meanwhile, on the arrest of two lawyers, Angelo Neves and Manuel Lay, Commander Paulo Fatima Martins told journalists that they were arrested because they entered a residential area without authorisation. He added that the two also mobilised a mob to enter the residence, which disturbed the tranquillity. Martins further affirmed that the police action was not in breach of the law.

Ø Commission B of NP met Interior Ministry: The Commission B of the National Parliament held a meeting with the Ministry of Interior to discuss the border and police issues, TVTL reported on Wednesday. After the meeting, the President of Commission B, Faustinho da Costa told journalists that he was pleased with the explanation of the Interior Ministry and that they would take improvement measures. The Vice-Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris, meanwhile, told journalists that the Ministry would welcome any complaints and suggestions to improve the police.

Ø Defamation law pose threat to Journalists: Speaking at a workshop in Dili organised by the Timorese Journalists Association on Wednesday, Father Martinho Gusmão, the Director of Justice and Peace Commission of Baucau Diocese reportedly stated that the defamation law would make it difficult for the citizens to express their opinions, particularly journalists. Hence, he added, the society will lose its moral, social and political control power to the democratic institutions. Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the workshop, President of the Journalist Association said that he does not believe the law guarantees the freedom of expression of the citizens. Instead, he added, it will protect those in power. Meanwhile, Minister Antoninho Bianco stated that the law is to protect the right of every citizen.

Regional Media Reports

On 30th Anniversary of Indonesian invasion of East Timor, ETAN calls for Justice, Understanding of U.S. Role

John Miller, ETAN National Coordination for East Timor and Indonesian Action Network.

"The CAVR's recommendations are essential to charting a course of justice for the victims and provide a strong basis for reconciliation at all levels," said Miller. "Although the people of East Timor were the primary victims of the quarter-century of occupation that began 30 years ago today, such crimes against humanity victimize us all."

"The CAVR's findings provide important details and recommendations about the tremendous suffering U.S.-supplied weapons inflicted on the East Timorese people, suffering which was facilitated by U.S. political, diplomatic and military support. The CAVR's account will help us realize the horrendous impact of U.S. government policies throughout the occupation," said Karen Orenstein, National Coordinator of ETAN. "Clearly, the current administration has not learned critical lessons from that period. Last month, the Bush administration steam-rolled over congressional intent by issuing a waiver to allow unfettered U.S. support for Indonesia's unrepentant military," added Orenstein.

On December 7, 1975, Indonesia launched its full-scale invasion of East Timor only hours after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave the green light to Suharto, the Indonesian dictator. The U.S. supplied nearly all weapons used. Declassified documents released last week by the Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA) confirm that several U.S. administrations understood that Indonesia intended to invade East Timor, and that the invasion and occupation were rife with human rights violations and catastrophic suffering. At the same time, successive administrations concealed this information from Congress and the American people. The NSA researched and obtained these documents to assist the CAVR in its work.

The U.S. supplied 90% of the weapons used during the invasion. For the 24 years, from Ford to Clinton, successive U.S. administrations consistently backed Indonesia's occupation, providing Jakarta diplomatic cover and billions of dollars worth of weaponry, military training and economic assistance. These actions resulted in the killing of many tens of thousands of East Timorese civilians. "Since Timor's independence referendum in September 1999, Washington has provided monetary and other assistance to East Timor's reconstruction and development, but such aid does not even begin to compensate the East Timorese people for the suffering caused by 24 years of U.S. support for Indonesian military occupation," said Miller. "Along with the CAVR, we agree that the U.S. owes East Timor reparations."

The CAVR recommends reparations to victims from countries like the U.S. which backed the occupation and from corporations which profited from selling weapons to Indonesia during that period. ETAN advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for East Timor and Indonesia. ETAN calls for an international tribunal to prosecute crimes against humanity committed in East Timor from 1975 to 1999 and for restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia until there is genuine reform of its security forces and full accountability for human rights violations. (Vanuaty News)

National News Sources

Timor Post (TP), Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL), Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional, Seminario, Lia Foun (LF, Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]-

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