UN and partners map action plan
to rebuild East Timor's shattered media.

15 December United Nations agencies have joined forces with donors and non-governmental and professional media organizations to devise a plan of action to rebuild East Timor 's shattered media infrastructure.

The three-pronged action plan, adopted this week at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, calls for the development of a regulatory framework for new media in East Timor, repair of the country's radio network infrastructure, and a training programme for journalists.

The conference was held after an expert mission by UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, found that virtually all media that had existed during the Indonesian administration of the territory had been destroyed in the violence that followed East Timor's vote for independence last August.

Organized by UNESCO and hosted by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance from 13 to14 December, the conference yielded over $1 million in donor pledges, in addition to decisions on various aspects of journalistic activity.

"We have had very good ideas, very good suggestions. We have a plan to follow in support of an independent East Timor. And most important, we already have commitments from donors to fund certain activities and this is most welcome," Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Director of Communication and Public Information for UNTAET, the UN's transitional administration in East Timor, told UN NEWService in Bangkok.

Noting that UNTAET had performed some emergency repairs on the radio network infrastructure, he stressed that long-term repairs would require significant funds.

"It is going to be money well spent because it is going to be one of the tools to really contribute to building a nationhood. The idea is to develop some sort of public broadcasting service which will open the way for the Timorese to talk to themselves and integrate the different regions of the country," Mr. de Almeida e Silva said.

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