Regional Media House in Suai Officially Inaugurated

Nov 242009

Suai, Timor-Leste – Suai’s own regional media house was today officially inaugurated, making it the fourth media center opened in the districts by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with four East Timorese journalism associations and the syndicate of journalists.

In operation for the past seven months, the media house has already greatly benefited Timorese journalists, in particular, district based reporters, most of whom in the past had to travel up to ten hours one way to reach the capital Dili to access resources now available through the media house.

Today’s inauguration further strengthens an already solid partnership between the Suai Youth Media Centre (YOMATRE) and the Suai Regional Media House (UMR).

YOMATRE is an arm of the Covalima Youth Centre, and is composed by a young team of video reporters.

“Integrating a media house into YOMATRE was a no-brainer,” said Charles Rice, ICFJ’s Country Director. “YOMATRE’s video team already does amazing work documenting lives in Suai and using the web as a platform to promote what goes on in their neighborhood. The media house complements what YOMATRE already does, as well as helping other journalist’s in Suai.”

Through the media house, journalists have free access to the internet, and are able to borrow equipment such as tape recorders and digital cameras as well as basic stationery.

Most importantly through the media house, journalists have access to ongoing journalism training as well as other training in management, finance, and advertising conducted by ICFJ trainers.

One other main objective of the media house is to increase the flow of information in the region. Sancho Alves Nahac, the Suai UMR Coordinator, is working closely with the youth of the Covalima Youth Centre and other partners in the area to try to find innovative ways of reaching larger audiences with news and information.

The Suai media house became operational in May 2009. Other media houses already in operation are located in Dili, Ermera, Baucau and Oe-cusse. Rehabilitation work has already begun on the Maubisse regional media house. A future media house potentially includes Balibo (Bobonaro District).

Media houses across Timor-Leste, are a joint initiative by the Timor-Leste Journalists Association (AJTL), the Syndicate for Journalists Timor-Leste (SJTL), the Centre for Investigative Journalists (CJITL), the Timor-Leste Photographers Association (TILPA), the Community Radio Association Timor-Leste (ARKTL), and the International Center For Journalists (ICFJ).

The establishment of a network of Regional Media Houses in the country is one of the projects made possible by the five-year, US$ 5.6 million “Strengthening Independent Media Program” jointly supported by USAID and AusAID.

For further information please contact Chuck Rice, ICFJ-TL Country Director at 742-0776 or Emanuel Braz, ICFJ’s Senior Media Consultant, at 733-2375.