Max Stahl’s legacy and the future of CAMSTL

On December 1 the  National Parliament of Timor-Leste (PN) established the Max Stahl Freedom of Expression Prize through Resolution no. 25/2021 (see here and here).

The prize will be awarded to national or foreign citizens, or to NGOs and other organisations, as well as to individual or collective works in the press or of a literary, scientific, or audio-visual nature produced in Timor-Leste that promote, communicate, and defend the freedom of expression, the preservation of the memory of the liberation struggle and knowledge about the history of Timor-Leste.  It is a very noble way for Timor-Leste to perpetuate the memory and example of Max Stahl.

However, it is equally important to safeguard his work and that of his co-workers at Centro Audiovisual Max Stahl Timor-Leste (CAMSTL). At the time of Max Stahl’s death, the transformation of CAMSTL into a ‘public institute’ (instituto público, I.P.) was being looked into by lawyers in the Prime Minister’s office (see here).

CAMSTL and the University of Coimbra (UC) established a partnership back in 2019 that resulted in the creation of a mirror image of CAMSTL’s archive in UC’s servers (see here).

Access to CAMSTL through UC (here) is currently not possible. A link to the original database in Dili provided a long time ago by CAMSTL itself seems to be inactive, at least for unregistered users. 

While these access issues could be temporary and be related to CAMSTL’s unresolved legal status, it is important for archivists and historians with an interest in Timor-Leste to keep a close eye on developments regarding CAMSTL’s future to ensure that Max Stahl’s legacy lives on.

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