Timor Leste to Make Journalists Code of Ethics

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  • TEMPO/Machfoed Gembong

    TEMPO/Machfoed Gembong

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Timor Leste government considered that their mass media suffer from a lack of professionalism, accuracy, and ethics. They assessed that it would be necessary to make a journalism law and code of ethics, so that every journalist who offended it will get a sanction.

    The Draft law, as Al Jazeera reported, set limitation and regulations to anybody who wants to become a journalist. It also spells out how to deal with journalistic ethics offenses.

    Former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri supported the draft, urging it to be established soon. "Mass media is power. Every power has to have some limits," Alkatiri said in an interview at his office in Dili, the nation's capital.

    "If a politician made a mistake, he/she has to be held responsible. If a company made a mistake, it has to be held responsible. But journalists? No, they are free to made mistakes, just because they are journalists," he said, sarcastically.

    In recent weeks, Nelio Isaac Sarmento, East Timor's state secretary for communications, visited his counterparts in Indonesia and Portugal to discuss ways to strengthen his country's media industry. "Almost all journalists are young and many [started their jobs] after high school. They directly entered professional journalism with only one or two weeks' training. That's not enough," Sarmento said.

    Sarmento was also quoted by Diario Nacional as saying there should be consequences for those practicing journalism without proper credentials. "Sanction will be given to people who say they are journalists. The journalists law and code of ethics will be used for sanctioning those who violate the law," he said.