Thursday, May 6, 1999 Published at 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
East Timor on the Web
By Sherie Ryder of the BBC World Service East Asia Today programme
And since the downfall of former president Suharto in May 1998, there has been a significant loosening up of debate on the future for Indonesia and for East Timor.
His successor, President Habibie has promised democratic revolution in Indonesia. New political parties have since been formed in preparation for the elections in June this year, and the East Timorese have been offered a direct vote on whether they would like autonomy or complete independence.
The Republic of Indonesia Foreign Ministry site in English and Indonesian provides an extensive list of links to Indonesian Government institutions, mostly in Indonesian.
The National Commission on Human Rights gives the government line on human rights issues.
The United Nations has been closely involved in trying to bring about an acceptable consensus on East Timor's future and is expected to play an important role in a transition period if and when the territory is given its independence.
Over the past few years there has been an upsurge of new East Timor sites on the Internet, in particular, those of human rights groups campaigning from the West:
'Virtual country'East Timorese until recently had no domain on the Internet of their own. Anyone wishing to go online had to use Indonesia's domain (.id) or that of another country.
But just over a year ago, the 1996 Nobel Prize winners, Jose Ramos Horta , Bishop Belo initiated, along with Internet service provider Connect-Ireland an East Timorese Internet domain (.tp) - giving East Timor a presence as a 'virtual country' on the Net.
The site was soon forced to shut down when a highly organised attack, for which the Indonesian government was blamed, brought down the East Timor virtual country domain.
Australia and Portugal
The Australian government has been urged by the UN to play a key role in ensuring a peaceful independence vote in East Timor later this year. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade site has the transcript of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's speech following his visit to Indonesia and Portugal in February this year. And the site of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta contains recent press releases on the Timor issue.
The Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs site has information on the role of Portugal, the former colonial power.
Indonesia's main opposition parties have their own positions on East Timor. Amien Rais, leader of the opposition National Mandate Party has said independence should be put to the people of East Timor in a referendum. The head of the PDI, or Democratic Party, Megawati Sukarnoputri has rejected independence for the territory.
Antara is Indonesia's official news agency, covering a wide range of topics from national to international news to finance. Registration is required, but the site is free.
Inside Indonesia published by the Indonesian Resources and Information Programme (IRIP), has its own team of writers compiling commentary and analysis on news from Indonesia and East Timor. The site includes translations of interviews (for example with Indonesian Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas) featured in Portuguese newspapers.