|Subject: AN: Alatas Criticises Indon Press Coverage
Of E Timor
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:50:26 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Minister Criticises Indonesian Press Coverage Of E Timor
JAKARTA, July 7 Asia Pulse - Foreign Minister Ali Alatas has expressed regret that the Indonesian press often imitates the speculative reporting style of the foreign press.
"Our press is frequently copying the speculative style of the foreign media in presenting their news. This is regrettable," Alatas said on the sidelines of a meeting with a House commission Tuesday.
Citing an example of foreign media's speculative reporting, Alatas said this had happened recently in connection with the question whether or not the UN needed to send peace-keeping forces to troubled East Timor.
"The foreign press speculatively described conditions in East Timor as if the territory was in an emergency situation," Alatas said.
The domestic press also had lost its nationalism in publishing stories about East Timor, he added.
Alatas called on the press to uphold balance and give the government a chance to settle the East Timor issue.
"Do not only tell the negative side of things. Press reports should be balanced," he said.
He said balanced stories would help the Indonesian government settle various problems in the province. So far only few media had been publishing proportional stories, he added.
"The press blew up the recent incident in Bobonaro district by describing only the attack by pro-integration people while making not the slightest mention of an attack by the pro-independence camp," he said.
He said the Foreign Ministry had issued a press release on the incident in Liquisa.
"The release was made in two versions, in English and in Bahasa Indonesia, but none of the media used it," he said.
Alatas called on the Indonesian press to pay more attention to the national interest.