Prime Minister attends the international conference on freedom of the press

Thu. 11 of May of 2017, 15:53h

The Prime Minister, Rui Maria de Araújo, took part in the International Conference on “Promoting freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions” to commemorate the first anniversary of the Press Council of Timor-Leste. The conference was held on May 10th, 2017, at Delta Nova Hall, in Dili.

The theme of the conference was “Critical minds for critical times: the role of Media in the advancement of fair and just societies”. This issue is directly linked to the contribution of free and quality journalism to achieve goal 16 [Peace, justice and effective institutions] of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the promotion of a peaceful and inclusive societies.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Timor-Leste is well aware of the importance of the press, both at the time of the struggle for National Liberation and after independence. “The role of free press is extremely important to peace, stability and democracy in our country. Quality journalism helped our process in the struggle for liberation.  There were journalists who gave their lives to present facts about the invasion and the liberation fight. Their professionalism helped us to liberate our homeland. In the future, the freedom of the people will always need quality journalism, with professionals who will assist the development of this country”, said the Prime Minister.

In the World Press Freedom Index 2017, Timor-Leste ranked first in the region of Southeast Asia and 98th at the global level among the 180 evaluated.

The Prime Minister stressed that the Press Council of Timor-Leste has an important role to ensure the professionalism of the Media. He praised the “Press Council and the journalists of Timor-Leste, who have been working hard to inform our society. We should all be proud of what we have already achieved in the past 15 years, including in the area of freedom of the press. But we need to challenge ourselves to do better and complete the independence and development of our country”.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Roberto Soares, the Secretary of State for Social Communication, Nélio Isaac Sarmento, Presidents and representatives of Press Councils of from South-East Asia, Australia, Africa  and the Pacific,  journalists and owners of Timor-Leste’s Media and university students attended the conference.