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East Timor


Area: 14,870 sq. km.
Population: 947,000.
Languages: Tetun, Portuguese.
Head of state: Xanana Gusmao.

East-Timor - Annual report 2007

Riots and political tension did not make the job of the press any easier. Several publications were threatened by supporters or opponents of the former prime minister, Mari Alkatiri. Despite this violence, the young country continues to enjoy a favourable atmosphere for press freedom.

A military rebellion against the government triggered a serious deterioration in working conditions for journalists from May 2006. Several publications had to work in secret for fear of reprisals. The Timor Post and Suara Timor Lorosae had to halt publication for several days under pressure from supporters of Mari Alkatiri, who was forced to resign at the end of June. The former head of government had openly criticised and called for a boycott of independent media like Suara Timor Lorosae.

Journalists were physically attacked on several occasions. On 10 June, an Associated Press reporter was manhandled and briefly detained by Australian peace-keeping soldiers. On 12 June, a gang of youths stoned journalists from the Timor Post. Political militants ransacked the offices of the leading radio and television channel TVTL in Dili on 29 June demanding the suspension of news programmes. Finally, on 9 November an Agence France-Presse correspondent was hit in the face by a stone thrown by a demonstrator.



 
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