It was widely reported, especially by media in Portugal and copied by few local media and went viral on social media that “Timorese judges’ life was under threat.
The English version of the same news reported by Micael Pereira and Rui Gustavo for Expresso Sapo PT and posted on ETAN reported that “Guilhermino da Silva, the President of the Court of Appeal, and Timorese CSM, made a call to Antonio Piçarra, vice president of Portuguese SCM, ask for help against dramatic situation in the past hour confronting Timorese judges”.
Both added that “Guilhermo da Silva closed himself in a house with two other judges because they fear for their lives”.
Next day, various news media including SAPO Timor-Leste, quoted Lusa, reported a contradictory version from the very same source.
In Portuguese version, the news reads that “Presidente do Conselho Superior de Magistratura de Timor-Leste DESCONHECE ameaças a juízes”.
Thanks to Google Translation, the statement can be roughly translated into English as “the President of CSM does not know any threat against the judges”. He reaffirmed to Lusa that “I am not aware of it. So far, not directly seen this threat”.
The question now is who is not telling the truth here. It is either “the source of information” or “the one who report it” in the first place.
The integrity and credibility of the source of the information is unquestionable and therefore it is highly unlikely that Judge Guilhermino da Silva would one day say one thing and another day say something important position speaks the only the truth.
We are then left with one and the only truth, which is the one who reported it in the first place did not tell the truth.
Therefore, the news about “Timorese judges’ life under threat” is simply another overly exaggerated media’s blunder and it is regrettable international reputable media could do such a deplorable thing.
A good friend of mine once told me that apart from coffee, the next big commodity Timorese can export is gossiping. Sadly, this incident tells me that the Timorese no longer have that competitive advantage, as people in other countries are also good at it.
What we ask is “para reduzirem um bocado a emoção com que se expressam”.
As a side note for critics, recent update from Democracy Index shows that despite no country is a full democracy, Timor-Leste scored the highest quality of democracy in Southeast Asia.