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East Timorese Journalists Visiting Australia


BRISBANE, Jan 31 AAP - East Timorese journalists arrived in Australia today to discuss ways to re-build their shattered local news services and to look at the media's role in shaping their new nation.

Since the independence vote in August last year, the East Timorese press has been virtually paralysed with the premises of the daily newspaper, the Voice of East Timor and the underground news magazine, the Talitakum, destroyed by the pro-Indonesian militia.

A five-day post conflict workshop will take place at Queensland University this week and will include representatives from the newly formed Timor Lorosae Journalists Association and Ispela, a new media think-tank set up in East Timor.

The workshop has been organised by the Centre for International Journalism and global news group, Reuters.

Director of the Centre for International Journalism, John Wallace, said the workshop aimed to strengthen the journalists' skills in working in a free press environment.

Wallace said a major challenge for locally-based journalists would be to inform East Timorese on the actions and decisions of the new government.

"The government won't be used to an active press, scrutinising their power and every move," he said.

Wallace has recently travelled to the East Timorese capital Dili and met with many of the journalists attending this week's workshop.

Many feel they have been cut off from informing the local community since their offices were destroyed and were desperate to start publishing again, he said.

The United Nations was in the process of arranging printing presses to be flown to East Timor.

+++niuswire

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