Dili, June 15th, 2020: The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, confirmed that the amendment draft of the Penal Code has not yet entered to his office or to the Council of Ministers. This is because the referred draft is still under discussion within civil society. This discussion is being organized by the Ministry of Justice. For this reason, the Chief Executive wishes civil society to make its contribution. Thereafter, we will see the next steps.
“I have not received yet; the Office of the Prime Minister has not received and the Council of Ministers also has not received. This is a discussion that civil society needs to do, so I think we should leave the matter to civil society“, said the Chief Executive, after finishing the weekly meeting with the President of the Republic, at the President Palace of Nicolau Lobato, on Monday this week, responding to the questions of journalists, related to the draft amendment of the Penal Code, through which the Government intends to introduce the subject of criminalizing defamation.
The former President of the Republic also stressed that civil society have to distinguish between freedom of expression and insults or disrespect for people’s fundamental rights.
“We have to distinguish between the two issues, freedom of expression, the right of people to express themselves and also insult. These two issues are different, the insult and the lack of respect for the good name of the people, therefore, fundamental rights of people in democracy. For this reason, I wish civil society to discuss it further, and then we will analyse it together”, stressed the Head of Government.
Recently, the Ministry of Justice distributed an amendment draft of the Penal Code in which the Government includes the issue of criminalizing defamation, for civil society to discuss and give their opinion and suggestions, before the Ministry of Justice formalizes this proposal and to be discussed in the Council of Ministers. END / PMO