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Cablegate: Estonian Media has It Straight On Haiti Assistance

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTL #0038 0201355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201354Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0357
INFO RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN

UNCLAS TALLINN 000038

SIPDIS
STATE FOR THE SECRETARY FROM MIKE POLT
STATE FOR R: UNDER SECRETARY MCHALE
STATE FOR EUR: A/S PHIL GORDON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KDEM OIIP EN HA
SUBJECT: ESTONIAN MEDIA HAS IT STRAIGHT ON HAITI ASSISTANCE

REF: STATE 5277

Madam Secretary - I have reviewed reporting in the Estonian media
together with my Public Affairs staff and can confirm that the
stories and articles about Haiti have been factual and accurate.
There has been no Estonian media criticism or distortion of the
U.S. effort. The press here has replayed comments from a variety
of sources, including officials from other countries (France and
Brazil, most notably) that have leveled accusations that the United
States is attempting to occupy Haiti, for example. However, no such
negative and inaccurate statements have been generated or seconded
by the media itself.

Among Estonia's active online media audiences, individuals have
voiced their private opinions, some of which have been critical of
our engagement in Haiti, ranging from comments that Estonia didn't
make such large contributions to Haiti to please the Americans to
others that imply the U.S. has ulterior motives in its "so-called"
generosity. Although these comments are hardly reflective of the
majority of online commentary, we have countered this internet
opinion flow with my personal intervention setting the record
straight and inviting responses. My staff and I will continue to
monitor new media over the coming days and weeks to aggressively
point to the facts as needed.

My team and I have also been engaged intensively since the start of
the Haiti crisis with the Estonian Government, the Parliament, NGOs
and the media to build support for assistance to Haiti and to
engage the public on our own efforts. We applauded Estonia's
disproportionately high level of assistance in financial and human
resources to the victims. Estonia was one of the first EU countries
to step forward and has, in fact, greatly increased its level of
assistance to nearly USD 400,000), as of January 19, 2010. Part of
these funds have paid for five GOE USAR and logistics personnel to
be dispatched to assist with recovery efforts. Private Estonians
have given USD 45,000 so far, and Tartu, Estonia's second largest
city, raised USD 10,000 on its own.

I used an opportunity January 20 with a leading Russian-language
television outlet, focusing on the one-year anniversary of the
Obama administration taking office and the U.S. record on
assistance to Haiti. The target audience is Estonia's
Russian-speaking public, which generally tends to be much more
critical of both the Estonian and U.S. governments and skeptical of
our actions. Our exceptional Haiti efforts and the
Administration's tough and successful first year will continue to
be my key themes for the next several traditional media and
internet engagements. Respectfully, Mike.

MINIMIZE CONSIDERED
POLT

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