On 6 May, after only three hours of specific debate, Timor-Leste's Parliament passed a law which would severely restrict Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and of the press. More than three weeks later, they have not yet sent the law to President Taur Matan Ruak. The President will have 30 days in which to sign or veto the law after he receives it.
Yesterday, La'o Hamutuk and other organizations wrote a letter urging the President to veto the law, "because it will harm democracy and human rights, restrict many people's rights to freedom of expression, and give power to a single group to issue a few licenses while limiting other people's rights to share information. We believe this violates Timor-Leste’s Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
The letter is online at www.laohamutuk.org/misc/MediaLaw/LHLeiImprensa29MaiuTe.pdf ,
with an English translation at www.laohamutuk.org/misc/MediaLaw/LHLeiImprensa29MaiuEn.pdf .
More information and analysis, including texts and translations of versions of the law, are at http://www.laohamutuk.org/misc/MediaLaw/14MediaLaw.htm .
ETAN supports the letter, and Lao Hamutuk welcomes additional endorsements for this letter, especially from organizations, and will provide a supplemental list to the President next week. Write us and we will forward the endorsements.
|Timorese Journalist José Belo protests media law at a seminar in Dili.|
Photo: Jornal Independente