Regional Media House on the Agenda for Suai
June Meeting about Broadband Access in Suai
(This was written months ago but I forgot to publish it sorry everyone – .
EXCITING OPPORTUNITY FOR SUAI OPENS UP
The first Uma Media Rejional (Regional Media House) has been set up in East Timor to cover the Districts of Baucau, Lautem and Viqueque. Now, thanks to the presence of YoMaTre and the suaimediaspace website, the Regional Media House project team have put Suai on the list for investigating the feasibility of placing one in Suai.
Many friends of East Timor know Emanuel Braz through his work as Co-ordinator of ‘Friends of Bacau’, as well as for his regular presence at gatherings relating to East Timor. Emanuel has been working in East Timor on media development with the International Centre for Journalists since 2006. Emanuel saw the suaimediaspace website and discovered YoMatre, the media group set up by the Suai Media Arts Group with funds and support from the Friends of Suai. The ICFJ Project Team had not been planning to open a Media House in Suai but have now put it on the list for consideration.
Baucau was the first of five media hubs planned for at the district level, to foster community media development and increase the flow of news and information to and from the districts. According to the fact sheet of the Project Team it is expected that at least one other Regional Media House will be set up in the western regions of the country in 2008. Indications are this will be in Suai where the community is disadvantaged by its isolation and lack of Internet access. Its feasibility will depend on further funding and co-operation with Timor Telecom in Suai.
The International Centre for Journalists through the Special Projects Team of the Timor-Leste Media Development Institute (TLMI) in partnership with four national journalism associations is implementing the project.
“The Regional Media House Project will be funded in its set up year by the Strengthening Independent Media Program in Timor-Leste (SIMPTL). It is foreseen that in future Media Houses will be supported and funded through national media fundraising initiatives”. (Fact Sheet SIMPTL)
The Regional Media Houses will offer both professional and logistical support to district-based media outlets and journalists. It will provide training for district journalists, foster new media development initiatives in the area, provide a focal point where local radio stations can go for technical support, link local media to capital media and provide local journalists with access to the Internet and a phone line. Providing low cost local Internet access for the local community through an Internet café is also a possibility.
Emanuel said they hope to link the five houses via the Internet so “there can be a constant flow of information and news around the country”. At this point it is “very expensive but hopefully it will be more affordable towards the end of the year as we hear rumours Timor Telecom may open up for other internet service providers to operate in Timor”.