Subject: East Timor press headlines/1May2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines -- Tuesday 1 May 2001

1. Avelino: “I do not want to be interviewed by TVTL” 
2. Social Democrats ready for 30 August elections 
3. Robbers Strike Again: Australian PKF Member Hurt At Hera Beach

1. Avelino: “I Do Not Want To Be Interviewed By TVTL” (Timor Post, Page 3 lead) 

The Secretary-General of the Timor Socialist Party (PST), Avelino Coelho da Silva yesterday rejected strongly efforts by Televisi Timor Lorosae (TVTL) to interview him at the National Council.

He said each time when TVTL interviewed him, only images were televised without any sound bytes.

“I don’t want to be interviewed by TVTL reporters because they never air what I have to say. I feel that I’m not important to them,” said an irate Avelino while he was leaving the National Council Hall.

He told reporters that he was not rejecting all interviews ­ only interviews with TVTL.

“I’m not blaming TVTL reporters ­ it could be the working system of TVTL,” added Avelino.

“Again let me stress that I’m not blaming the [TVTL] journalists.”

Meanwhile, the NC member from KOTA party Clementino dos Reis Amaral said Avelino had his personal rights on whether he wanted to be interviewed by the media or not.

“Journalists have the right to ask questions and the people who are being interviewed also have the right not to answer,” said Clementino.

But Clementino acknowledged that images and sound bytes could be cut to fit in the time slot.

“At the end of the day all parties concerned would have to evaluate why this was cut or that was aired, etc,” he added.

The NC member from Ambeno District Ana Paula also said Avelino had his rights.

“He might have had valid reasons on not wanting to speak to TVTL,” she said.

But she had a word of caution.

“We must maintain good relations with all the media because they are our link to the people in the various districts,” she said.

Meanwhile TVTL reporter Nelio said he could not accept Avelino’s reasons.

“As a journalist, I feel disappointed that a leader of a political party, who is also an NC member, has refused to be interviewed by television,” he told the Timor Post.

“Television is not the same as print media. We might do an interview and only use 20 seconds of a sound byte. That’s television.”

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2. Social Democrats Ready For the 30 August Elections (Timor Post, Front Page third lead)

Although they have limitations, the Social Democrat Party (PSD) said yesterday they were ready to face the 30 August Constituent Assembly elections.

In an interview with the Timor Post, PSD Secretary-General Leandro Issac said the PSD was ready.

“Don’t ask me whether we are ready or not. The PAS is ready to face the elections. I think we have fulfilled the various criteria [for the registration of political parties]. We are only waiting to register ourselves with the Independent Election Commission,” he said.

Leandro said his party was also making its way to the districts, though they had yet to be at the sub-districts.

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3. Robbers Strike Again: Australian PKF Member Hurt At Hera Beach (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

A gang robbing foreigners in Hera, 10 kilometres east of Dili, have struck again. This time it was an Australian PKF member who was at the Hera beach on Sunday.

In a press release, from PKF headquarters, spokesperson Jeff Squire said a gang of civilians attacked three Australian PKFs while they were swimming in the sea. The gang was armed with knives and machetes.

There was a scuffle, said the press release, and a PKF member was slashed on the right wrist by a machete. The gang fled when one of the three PKFs managed to run to his vehicle and draw out a weapon.

Meanwhile, CivPol said it was already investigating the matter.

David Stewart of the Information Cell of CivPol, Dili District likened the gang to “city militias”.

“These are amateur criminals. Why am I saying this? If they were professionals, they wouldn’t have run when confronted with weapons by the PKF. They are like ‘city militias’,” he said.

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