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RTTL vs EU ELection MISSION Deputy Chief Observer Alexander Gray

EU EOM deputy chief Alexandre Gray during a press conference in Timor Hotel this week. EU EOM deputy chief Alexandre Gray during a press conference in Timor Hotel this week. Photo Supply

Tempo Timor (Dili)-The European Union has a large and well resourced election monitoring mission in Timor-Leste for the current presidential elections.

While the EU mission has noted the elections have been free and fair it has been unduly and inaccurately critical of the coverage of the national broadcaster RTTL.

In its preliminary statement on the first round of presidential elections on 21 March it stated as follows:

""A pluralist media landscape provided access to a wide range of political opinions. Radio remained the most important source of information in rural areas. EU EOM media monitoring revealed that Rádio-Televisão Timor-Leste (RTTL), provided free airtime and editorial coverage to all 16 candidates in a neutral tone. However, its campaign news coverage was unbalanced."" See link: https://eeas.europa.eu/election-observation-missions/eom-timor-leste-2022/113115/eu-eom-timor-leste-2022-preliminary-statement_en

Furthermore it raised a specific allegation that it coverage was “inbalanced as Lu Olo and Lere were most featured candidate”.

The RTTL sent a complaint to EU Ambassador Andrew Jacobs who stated that the person responsible is the Deputy EU elecrion mission chief MR Alexander Gray.

In a statement to the public RTTL President Jose Antonio “Taraleu” Belo rejected this assessment stating that the EU have no capacity to properly monitor Tetun language news coverage in Dili or across the country.

Subsequently RTTL broadcast an in-depth review it is coverage nationally throughout the campaign in which the head of its editorial board, Constancio Vieira, explained in detail how the the EU has reported a counter factual understanding of reality.

The President of RTTL has demanded that the EU review and subsequently retract its assessment. The EU have been invited to RTTL to explain its conclusions on 0900 24 March 2022.

It is reported that RTTL have acknowledge that if it has been in error based on facts it will adjust operations. However RTTL sources that that if the EU is proven to be in fault it will insist on a public retraction.

The EU report has caused significant questions about the independence of the national broadcaster RTTL. This is a matter it needs to prove in detail or retract its statement. (*)

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Last modified on Friday, 25 March 2022 16:39
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