Draconian media law

No journalist has ever been jailed in connection with their work in East Timor since this country of just 1.2 million inhabitants won independence in 2002. Articles 40 and 41 of its constitution guarantee free speech and media freedom. But various forms of pressure are used to prevent journalists from working freely, including legal proceedings designed to intimidate, police violence and public denigration of media outlets by government officials or parliamentarians. The creation of a Press Council in 2015 was a step in the right direction, despite the reservations expressed by the media about the way its members are elected. However, the media law adopted in 2014, in defiance of the international community’s warnings, poses a permanent threat to journalists and encourages self-censorship. Relatively unrestricted coverage of government instability in 2019-20 nonetheless served to show the importance of the role that media pluralism can play in East Timor’s democracy.

in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index



84 in 2019

Global score


29.93 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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