MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF ANGELA FREITAS
PRESIDENT PARTIDO TRABALHISTA – EAST TIMOR
Subject: “Treatment of International Journalist at CPD-RDTL Rally – 5/10/2011”
I strongly protest over the treatment my Media Advisor and Consultant, Mr. Robert Trott, received from security personnel during the CPD-RDTL protest rally held at the sports field today.
At my request Robert went to the rally as an International Journalist, representing a number of overseas newspapers, radio and television stations to compile a story and take pictures at the protest rally.
His objective was to write a story for the International media and bring widespread attention to the protestors’ demands.
He told me that he was freely allowed into the grounds of the sports field by the Police, where he took some photos of the people listening to the speeches. He said he received no opposition from anyone in the crowd until he went closer to the platform where the organisers were talking.
Suddenly he was approached by a man who forcibly grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him towards the gates, aggressively speaking Tetun. When Robert told him he spoke Indonesian, the man yelled “keluar-keluar” (get out – get out)
and continued to drag him by the wrist.
Robert tried to explain in Indonesian that he was a Journalist and showed him his Journalistic credentials that were hanging from his neck. These credentials are internationally recognized and have his picture on them.
Despite this, the “security guard”, now joined by another equally aggressive companion, both forced him to the gates and pushed him out.
This action can only be described as “stupid” and if this sort of treatment was handed out to Journalists in other countries there would be an outcry from Journalist Associations.
It’s time that people in this country realized that East Timor needs International Journalists to freely do their work, to help open the eyes and ears of the World as to what is happening in our country.
Can you imagine what would be said about East Timor in the international media if this sort of thing happened at rallies and meetings during the Election campaign next year?
President Jose Ramos Horta is calling Dili “The City of Peace” and is encouraging overseas people to visit East Timor without fear. Today’s incident is a complete contradiction of this and further similar incidents involving International Journalists can only damage our reputation, and the President’s, on the International stage.
I will be bringing this incident to the attention of the President and call on the organizers of the CPD-RDTL rally to issue a public apology to Robert Trott.
President Partido Trabalhista
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
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