From 13-17 February 2023, Dr. James Gomez, Asia Centre’s Regional Director, visited Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste to engage with Timor-Leste’s political leadership, parliament and other stakeholders on the findings from Asia Centre and International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)’s report Timor- Leste: Internet Freedoms Under Threat and to boost future collaboration with local stakeholders.
Dr. Gomez kicked off his visit on 13 February 2023 with a bilateral meeting with President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Guterres Lopesthe. He handed over the report and discussed how the parliament had a role in improving Timor-Leste’s internet freedoms.
While at the Parliament, Dr. Gomez was pleasantly surprised to learn from Pinto Cardoso, Director of Parliamentary Research and Advisory Office that the Asia Centre and ICNL report and Asia Centre’s op-ed in the Jakarta Post, “Timor-Leste’s Internet Freedoms at Risk”, was cited in a briefing note on the cyber security law to Parliament.
From 14-16 February 2023, Dr. Gomez called on MP Antonio Tilman, Deputy-Secretary of the Board and member of the Kunto Party, Isabel Maria B.F. Ximenes (President of the Bench, Frente Mudanca), Antonio Benevedious, (President of the Bench, United Party for Development and Democracy (PUDD) and David Dias Ximenes, President of the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) to discuss Asia Centre’s report on internet freedoms in Timor-Leste. The message was political parties and parliamentarians have a role in improving internet freedoms.
The highlight of the trip was a meeting with the President of the Republic, Dr. José Manuel Ramos-Horta, at the Presidential Palace. The meeting was a closed-door meeting in which several issues were discussed including the findings from the Asia Centre and ICNL report. Following the meeting, Dr.Gomez addressed a media door-stop, in which he shared with journalists some public information on Asia Centre’s plans to engage with Timor-Leste’s universities and think-tanks. The meeting with President Ramos-Horta was widely covered over local media.
During this trip, Dr. Gomez also visited Universidade da Paz (UNPAZ), a local private university and discussed with its representative possible future activities. Other stakeholders, Dr. Gomez met Virgilio da Silva Guterres Lamukan, Ombudsman, on 16 February 2023.
All in all, Asia Centre’s engagement with the political leadership of Timor-Leste and other stakeholders set the framework of future cooperation with political parties, parliamentarians, the parliamentary secretariat and its research and policy unit, the government ombudsman, and representatives of Timorese think-tanks and universities.
The report, in partnership with International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), analyses the state of internet freedoms against the background of emerging national legislation pertaining to online content and privacy of data.
Read the full report here.
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