Western Balkans

Uma Komunikasaun – Communications House: helping journalists to bring the National Parliament closer to the people of Timor-Leste

01/10/2020 - 03:33
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The construction of the new Press Centre is financed in the framework of a USD 4 million European Union programme to support decentralisation in Timor-Leste, implemented and co-financed by the UNDP.

In Parliament, representatives, elected by the people, debate issues of public interest. They take decisions and agree legislation that affect the lives of citizens. It is important that people are able to monitor what Parliament, and their representatives, who work for them, are doing. They need to know when it is may be necessary to make their views known to Members of Parliament in order to influence debate, so that their interests are represented.

Journalists have a crucial role to play in informing citizens about what is happening in Parliament.  Yet in Timor-Leste, until now, their task has been hampered by the lack of a place to work and from which to report.

Therefore, the National Parliament with the support of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is building a press centre - “Uma Komunikasaun”. This is an initiative grown out of a commitment of the National Parliament to provide decent working conditions to the journalists covering Parliamentary sessions.

"By providing journalists with a better place to work, we are helping them to better inform citizens about the work being done in the National Parliament and, thus, bringing this institution closer to citizens and their aspirations", said the President of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste, H.E. Mr. Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes.

Uma Komunikasaun, located on the National Parliament, will serve to strengthen the institution’s openness and transparency. Equipped with a press room, a space for press conferences, and a radio studio, the facility aims to ensure that accurate and timely information is shared with citizens and to promote a better understanding of parliamentary functions. 

The construction of the Uma Komunikasaun, which aims boost the digital transformation of the National Parliament and provide for greater citizen engagement, is part of a USD 4 million EU programme to support decentralisation in Timor-Leste, implemented and co-financed by the UNDP.  

The National Parliament aims to harness the potential of IT technologies to strengthen public consensus on policies and legislation, allow citizens to connect with deputies, or use online platforms to monitor public spending. In this regard, the institution already started its path towards digital transformation through the provision of technological equipment and software licenses for remote meetings; the production of 20 civic education videos in coordination with Parliament staff; and the development of a Mobile App for interactive involvement with citizens.

“The European Union is proud to support the construction of a press room and press conference facility – “Uma Komunikasaun” - on the National Parliament’s premises. A proper workspace will improve legislative reporting, bring Parliament closer to the people, and build an effective relationship between Parliament and the press. The new media centre will facilitate research and analysis by journalists so that they can best inform the people of Timor-Leste of democratic decision-making by the deputies who represent them”, said Mr. Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste.

By seeking to use interactive tools to engage with citizens, the National Parliament, is again, upholding his duty to ensure transparency about its work and better connection with citizens. We are very happy to continue supporting the Parliament to ensure that information is broadly accessible to all citizens on a non-discriminatory basis through multiple channels, print media, radio, and all means at our disposal, to ensure that parliamentary information is understandable to a broad range of citizens”, said Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative.

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