Draft law would restrict who can be a journalist and punish ethical transgressions
Published by Al Jazeera English, Oct. 17, 2013
By Tom Benner
Dili, East Timor – Media in this young democracy in Southeast Asia suffer from a lack of professionalism, accuracy, and ethics, argue proponents of new legislation that would punish journalistic transgressions.
But critics worry that such a law, expected to be taken up by East Timor’s parliament, could impose onerous restrictions, such as spelling out who may work as a journalist, and how breaches of journalistic ethics should be addressed.
Politicians such as former prime minister Mari Alkatiri are advocates of such a system, alarming free speech advocates in the country.
“Media is a power. Every power has to have some limits,” Alkatiri said in an interview at his office in Dili, the nation’s capital.
“If the politician made a mistake, he has to respond to his mistake. If a company makes a mistake, they have to respond to the mistake. But the journalist, no. They are free to have mistakes, because they are journalists.” Continue reading …