This blog post analyses the proposed media law in Timor-Leste, which some commentators fear threatens press freedom, in the context of the wider challenges facing the Timor-Leste media.
In a context of increasing concern around corruption and public spending, the arguments of the government about the law being necessary for quality ring hollow, as does the reasoning that the law will enshrine journalism as a profession with protections.
This law will not solve the quality challenge facing the Timor press. New voices, increased competition and stronger demands from audiences are probably the best hopes, and they cannot be legislated into existence.
Instead, there is a real threat of increasing self-censorship by publications and individual journalists to mitigate their financial and legal risk in the face of the new sanctions that can be imposed under the law, and a real threat to the freedom and diversity of the Timor-Leste media.