From 15 to 22 September, the BRIDGE workshop on Media and Elections was conducted simultaneously in Portuguese and in Tetum in Dili, Timor Leste, in the context of the Project in Support of the 2010-2013 Electoral Cycles of the Portuguese Speaking African Countries and Timor Leste (PRO PALOP TL).
The aim of the workshop was to analyze the respective roles and improve the relations between the media and the electoral management bodies, in order to promote greater understanding and transparency in the conduct of the electoral processes. The workshop dealt broadly with the electoral principles, structures and processes as they affect media regulation, campaign and election coverage and voter education. The mechanisms for communication between EMBs and media in advance of an electoral process were also discussed.
The curriculum was customized in a two-day session to the specific electoral, legal and political context in Timor Leste. Issues like the relevant legal provisions in Timor Leste, recent studies and updated Media code of conduct were incorporated into the workshop resources.The customized Facilitator’s Note covered the following topics: Defining the types and role of the media, media regulatory bodies, media-EMB Relations, codes of conduct and communication planning.
The 12 participants included journalists and managers from many of the print, radio and television media houses, media regulatory bodies, as well Timor Leste STAE staff with responsibility for media relations.
STAE Director, Mr. Tomas Cabral expressed in the closing ceremony the critical importance of having Timorese electoral experts and STAE staff directly involved in training activities facilitating in Portuguese and Tetum. According to Mr. Cabral, this was a major step in the direction of sustainable knowledge transfer and was in line with the principles outlined in the Paris and Accra Declarations on aid effectiveness (ownership, alignment, harmonization, results and mutual accountability)
STAE requested to the PRO PALOP TL project to support the organization and delivery still in 2011 (October and November) two more BRIDGE modules on introduction to electoral administration and strategic, operational and financial planning (with a particular focus on Voter Registration matters), looking towards the upcoming electoral events scheduled for 2012.
In their evaluations, the participants expressed their overall satisfaction with the course and emphasized the need for more courses of this genre, delivered in Tetum and Portuguese.
During the workshop, Saturnino Exposto BABO, Bernardo CARDOSO and Horácio Correia da COSTA, all from STAE were fully accredited.
The accrediting facilitator for the workshop was Eduardo Casimiro de Dues, along with the workshop BRIDGE facilitators Ricardo Godinho Gomes and Sofia de Almeida, respectively the Electoral Assistance specialist and Communication Officer-Project Associate of the PRO PALOP TL project management team.
The Pro PALOP-TL is geographically concentrated on strengthening electoral processes and related institutions in Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor Leste. It is fully funded by the EU with 6.1 million EURO, implemented by UNDP and Guinea Bissau.
For more info on the BRIDGE strategy of the PRO PALOP TL:
For more info on the PRO PALOP TL itself see www.propalop-tl.org
The facebook page of the PRO PALOP TL is www.facebook.com/propalop-tl