Subject: East Timor headlines/4May2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Friday 4 May 2001

1. Sergio de Mello: Media must be a ‘watchdog’ 
2. UNTAET will not tolerate violence against journalists 
3. Manuel Carrascalao: Press have an important role to play in country’s development 
4. Hard to discuss democracy without press freedom 
5. Sergio: Human rights investigations to go on

1. Sergio de Mello: Media Must Be a ‘Watchdog’ (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

The media in Timor Lorosae must be a watchdog to prevent corruprtion, colludion and nepotism. This was stated yesterday by UN Transitional Administrator Dr Sergio Vieria de Mello in his speech to journalists on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

The Press Freedom Day celebrations were held at Talitakum news-magazine’s new office in Farol, Dili.

The press, said Sergio de Mello, played a crucial role in enabling the people to make critical judgements on a host of topics.

“Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are important elements for democracy,” said Sergio de Mello.

“A free press is also essential for a free economy. People need a free press in order to make proper economic choices and know of alternatives. In a repressive regime this will not be possible and international business will be scared to invest capital in such countries,” he added.

In repeating UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call on World Press Freedom Day, Sergio urged the local media to adhere to the highest professional standard, refrain from hate-mongering and be fair in their reporting.

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2. UNTAET Will Not Tolerate Violence Against Journalists (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)

The UN Transitional Administration will not tolerate violence against journalists by any party in the country.

UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello said this in his speech to journalists at World Press Freedom Day yesterday.

He reminded journalists of their obligation to the public and said they had a huge responsibility to disseminate true and factual information to the public.

“But I will not tolerate any violence directed against journalists in the pursuit of their duties,” added Sergio.

Sergio said press freedom also meant independence of the media. But he reminded journalists that there was a price to pay for independence.

“According to the Committee to Protect Journalists more than 20 reporters were killed last year. The perpetrators were not only governments or government apparatus but also criminal elements,” he said.

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3. Manuel Carrascalao: Press Have An Important Role in Country’s Development (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)

The local press in Timor Lorosae plays a crucial role in the country because it had the ability to disseminate information about the country’s progress to the people and thus motivate them to be involved in the development of the nation.

The President of the National Council Manuel Viegas Carrascalao said this yesterday on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. He was one of the guests-of-honor at the inauguration of Talitakum magazine’s new office premises in Farol, Dili.

Manuel said through press freedom, the country would be able to realize full democracy. He said this was important because Timor Lorosae’s struggle has not only been for independence but also for democracy and human rights.

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4. Hard To Discuss Democracy Without Press Freedom (Suara Timor Lorosae, third lead)

Coordinator of the Sahe Institute of Liberation Aderito de Jesus Soares said yesterday that any country that espouses democratic principles must have press freedom. This was because the press had a very important role to play in the development of the country.

Speaking to reporters at the inauguration of Talitakum’s new office on World Press Freedom Day Aderito said the press, too, had an important role to play in developing the country’s legal system.

“For 24 years the Timorese people have had very bad experience with a legal system that was repressive. Now we have to convince the people that we are building a legal system that will champion and protect their rights. For that a free press is important,” he said.

Aderito said it was important for the press to disseminate factual and true information about the development of the legal system in Timor Lorosae.

“There are still very few reporters present in court to report on cases and hearings. And many are also not conversant with legal issues, so much so that their reports are inaccurate,” added Aderito.

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5. Sergio: Human Rights Investigations To Go On (Timor Post, Front Page headline)

The UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello stressed that UNTAET will carry on with its investigations on crimes against humanity committed before and after the popular consultation, despite two investigators having resigned recently.

Sergio de Mello said this yesterday when he attended the World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the new Talitakum magazine office in Farol.

“The investigations will go on and nothing will prevent the UNTAET investigators from carrying out their duties. The 30 or so investigators will keep on working,” he added.

The Sydney Morning Herald, recently, carried a damning report on UNTAET’s Serious Crimes Unit investigating into abuses carried out before and after the August 1999 popular consultation.

“I hope the local media do not allow the Sydney Morning Herald report to influence them. If you want any confirmation or clarification please speak to Barbara Reis [UNTAET spokesperson] and she will brief you and take you to the Chief Prosecutor Mohamed Othman,” said Sergio de Mello.

“It doesn’t mean that the Serious Crimes Unit will stop functioning with the resignation of two people. That’s certainly not true,” he added.

Sergio de Mello said the morale of the investigators at the Serious Crimes Unit was good.

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