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Take Media Action for August 30 Anniversary

Dear East Timor activists,

Many of you are already aware of the increasingly tense situation in East Timor. Recent UN reports state that more than 100 Indonesian-controlled militiamen have infiltrated East Timor. There is grave concern that militias and their Indonesian military backers plan attacks on UN peacekeepers and East Timorese on the anniversary of East Timor's August 30 vote for independence. Hundreds of East Timorese living near the border with West Timor fear for their lives. In an eerie reprise of the situation one year ago, whole villages have fled to the forest because they fear militia attack. In West Timor, UN agencies have been forced from the refugee camps and repatriation is at a standstill. In Indonesia itself, the military continues to abuse human rights with little fear of prosecution.

If you have not heard much about the recent violence, there is a simple explanation: the U.S. media is not providing adequate coverage of events in East Timor! (If you want to keep yourself informed of news from East Timor, send a blank e-mail to info@etan.org for options, and regularly check ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org.)

This summer the United States concluded its first joint exercise with the Indonesian military since the post-vote violence. While the administration -- due to the public and congressional outcry -- may be backing off plans to expand military ties, we need to keep up the pressure to make sure ties are not restored until East Timor is safe and the Indonesian military respects human rights.

The August 30 anniversary of East Timor's vote for independence gives us a prime opportunity to generate U.S. media coverage and comment on the real situation in East Timor. Let's use this opportunity before the pervasive fog of campaign coverage blocks out coverage of most other issues for the rest of the campaign season!

You will be receiving the following resources in subsequent email messages. These should make it easier for you to reach out to media in your area:

  • taking points for interviews (We especially encourage those of you who have been in East Timor over the past year to work with others in your area to set up interviews for yourself). You can also use these points to call-in to radio talk shows. (Contact John M. Miller, if you want or need someone from outside your area for interviews).
  • sample press release (to interest print, radio and TV journalists in doing a story or to book an interview)
  • sample letters to the editor - these can be submitted to local papers prior to or just after the August 30 anniversary. You can also write letters responding to any coverage (good or bad) of the anniversary.

Please contact John or Kristin if you have any questions

On August 28 Kristin be moving to New York City to begin a graduate program, but will be reachable via her cell phone - 773-255-7949. Or you can try her new number in NY as of August 30th -- 212-866-5370. John isn't going anywhere and can be reached at 718-596-7668.

in peace,
Kristin 
John 


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