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Cablegate: Promoting Tolerance Among Indonesian Youth

VZCZCXRO0844
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0159 0250655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250655Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7751
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4667
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1920
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1541
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3635
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2268
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0536
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000159

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/PD (JBOOKBINDER), EAP/MLS, DRL,
DRL/PHD, INR/EAP
NSC FOR EPHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID SOCI ID
SUBJECT: PROMOTING TOLERANCE AMONG INDONESIAN YOUTH


1. (U) SUMMARY: A USG-funded Democracy Small Grant project
was launched January 24 near Jakarta. The aim of the
project--which provides training to Muslim and Christian
students--is to promote tolerance and ethical standards in
journalistic writing. One of Indonesia's most respected
senior journalists and DepPol/C addressed the mix of budding
journalists on the importance of effective, responsible
journalism. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) AN IMPORTANT GRANT: Mission continues its efforts to
promote positive interfaith relations in Indonesia. Noted
senior journalist Aristedes Katoppo and DepPol/C spoke at the
January 24 opening class of a Democracy Small Grant project
funded by EAP/PD focused on training high school students on
how to report the news in a way that promotes tolerance and
understanding in society. The project was designed by the
Institute for the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), an
Indonesian non-governmental organization which had played a
crucial role in the democracy movement of the late 1990's and
which continues to play an important role in promoting
tolerance today.

3. (U) FOCUS IS TOLERANCE, ETHICS: The course is carefully
constructed. Designed to train bright young students in
sound journalistic ethics while teaching them about
tolerance, the course was conceived in light of past
sectarian conflicts in Poso, Ambon and other places in
Indonesia which were fueled, in part, by hate-mongering or
poorly sourced media reporting. Training for the roughly 20
students will be held over the next few months at a mountain
resort training center near Jakarta. Courses will be taught
by highly respected Indonesian journalists.

4. (U) THEY'RE ENTHUSED: The students are excited about the
course. During the January 24 ceremony, Katoppo and the
DepPol/C held a long discussion with them about the important
role they can play as journalists in reporting with
sensitivity on ethnic and religious groups, and communal
relations in general. They underscored how good journalism
can contribute to social cohesion through responsible and
thoughtful reporting, and how inaccurate reporting fueled by
rumors, etc., can lead to serious communal conflict. The
students expressed strong, enthusiastic support for the
objectives of the course.

5. (U) A REAL MIX: Indonesia is a diverse country and the
student mix reflected that. They were chosen for their merit
among eight Muslim boarding schools and Christian high
schools, and included persons from a wide range of ethnic and
economic backgrounds as well. Their questions on how to
report the news in an ethical way demonstrated that they
fully appreciated the purpose of the course. One young man
attending a south Jakarta Muslim boarding school told us that
he has already made one student film on the everyday
struggles of young persons and hoped one day to become an
actor, screenwriter and filmmaker. He added that the course
was important to him in preparing him for these aspirations.

6. (U) GOOD FOR MEDIA, SOCIETY: The course is demanding.
Students will be expected to produce articles for publication
in their school newspapers based on what they learned in the
class and the best writers will be given awards at the end of
the project. Leveraging other education-related projects
that Mission is engaged in, the course can serve as a good
role model for teaching students across Indonesia on models
of positive citizenship. The course hopefully will produce
journalists who in the future--to the great benefit of
Indonesian media and society--will become responsible,
talented professionals.
HUME

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