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Cablegate: Tfha01: Tunisian Media Coverage of the Humanitarian Crisis

VZCZCXYZ0006
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0046 0201730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201730Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7175
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TUNIS 000046

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR R, NEA/PPD, AND NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KDEM OIIP HA TU
SUBJECT: TFHA01: TUNISIAN MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
IN HAITI IS LIMITED, MODERATE

Refs: (A) STATE 5277
(B) TUNIS 25

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Tunisian coverage of the Haitian earthquake and
ensuing humanitarian crisis has been limited and essentially
moderate in tone, with some coverage of international criticism of
the U.S. government's response to the ongoing situation in Haiti.
The Ambassador paid a call on the well-respected Dar As-Sabah
newspaper group to reinforce the U.S. government's message about
Haiti and our response to the crisis, and received uniformly
positive feedback from the editorial board about our government's
efforts to help the Haitian people. The Embassy continues to
feature prominently on its public website and Facebook site stories
and articles about American relief efforts in Haiti. End summary.


2. (SBU) There has been light coverage of the earthquake in Haiti
and its fallout over the past week in the Tunisian press; all
stories so far have been taken from wire services. Although
coverage has been straightforward, two Arabic-language dailies,
As-Sarih and Ash-Shourouk, carried wire service articles on January
19 reporting Hugo Chavez's remark that U.S. forces are using the
disaster as an excuse to occupy the country. Both articles were on
the first page of their respective paper and featured prominently a
close-up, contemplative photograph of the Venezuelan leader, and the
headline "Chavez says U.S. occupying Haiti in the name of aid."
Today's papers covered another international wire service story
about a French government official complaining that the U.S. was
calling the shots in Haiti because his plane was not allowed to land
in Port-Au-Prince when he wanted to arrive. President Sarkozy's
remark lowering the stridency of the official's comment was also
noted. A January 19 editorial in the government-owned
French-language daily La Presse supported U.S. involvement in relief
efforts in Haiti, opining: "Two countries should assume the biggest
responsibility in this tragic phase of Haiti's history, given their
relationships with this country: America and France."

3. (SBU) To heighten awareness of America's relief efforts and to
forestall possible re-publication of negative comments by other
world figures, the Ambassador and Embassy public affairs staff paid
a call on the editors of As-Sabah Arabic-language newspaper and its
sister French-language paper Le Temps on January 20 to share talking
points and press guidance supplied by Washington. The Ambassador
also asked the editors to confirm any stories they may be
contemplating publishing on American relief efforts to the Public
Affairs Section and the editors agreed. Reassuringly, both editors
had only positive and supportive things to say about the role of the
U.S. in relief efforts in Haiti.

4. (SBU) Embassy Tunis continues to actively publicize efforts by
the U.S. government to help the Haitian people through financial and
military assistance. The public trilingual website features
prominent coverage of the U.S. response to the unfolding
humanitarian crisis including video and audio links of President
Obama's speech about Haiti, links to America.gov articles about our
humanitarian relief efforts, links to the Red Cross site for
donations, and live Washington-originated feeds about Haiti.
Embassy Tunis's posts to Facebook about the American effort in Haiti
have received nine positive responses. One sympathetic individual
wrote about Haiti, "They really need help from the whole world!"

GRAY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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