East Timor

Basic Data

East Timor

Official Country Name: East Timor
Region (Map name): East & South Asia
Population: 827,727
Language(s): English, Indonesian, Portuguese, Tetum
Literacy rate: 55%

East Timor—or Timor Loro Sa'e—became a nation on May 20, 2002, as the world watched. The celebration of independence ended four centuries of Portuguese colonial rule, 24 years of Indonesian occupation, and more than two years of interim rule by the United Nations. East Timor shares with Indonesia about half of a 300-mile long island in the group known as the Lesser Sundas.

After the East Timorese people voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999, rampaging militias destroyed much of the island's infrastructure, including the printing presses and computers that served the former province's few newspapers and magazines. The Voice of East Timor, its leading newspaper, was silenced.

As a first step in rebuilding the media, Queensland Newspapers of Australia sent equipment and expertise. After a marathon equipment set-up, the Timor Post (in Indonesian) published its first, four-page tabloid edition on March 2, 2000. Besides the Timor Post, other newspapersare Suara Timor Lorosae (in Indonesian), Lalenok (in Tetum) and Timor Today. Archived copies of Timor Post and Lalenok can be seen at http://www.easttimorpress.qut.edu.au .

The lone television station is TV-TL, and two radio stations are Radio UNTAET and Radio Falintil. The Internet domain is.tl.

The official languages of Timor Loro Sa'e are Portuguese and Tetum. In practicality, Indonesian and English are the two languages in broad use.

Much of East Timor's independence struggle took place on the Internet, with the help of satellite phones, and in view of the world community. It can be said to have achieved its independence in cyberspace in 1997, when its domain name was registered and administered from Ireland.


Hill, David T. "East Timor and the Internet: Global Political Leverage in/on Indonesia." In Indonesia, 73 (April 2002) 25-52.

Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom. "East Timor Faces the Future." In Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001, 243-72.

Dr. Linda Yoder

Also read article about East Timor from Wikipedia

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