East Timor | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

East Timor

East Timor

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The new constitution adopted in March protects freedom of expression, but also allows the government to suspend rights in cases affecting national security or in order to protect "human dignity." State-run public radio and television services began operating when the country achieved full independence in May, replacing the broadcasting media operated by the interim UN administration. Like other services run by the cash-strapped government, however, the new broadcasting system faced problems, with Radio East Timor at times unavailable in parts of the country because of power shortages. Two independent dailies and a number of weekly publications cover a diverse range of views. While there are no legal impediments to establishing new media, entrants into the market are constrained by insufficient financial resources. In November, authorities indicted two Indonesian military officers for the 1999 killing of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes.