To the press

In the last 10 days, I have received numerous requests to speak to press outside of Timor-Leste. I am happy to speak to press here as (after a couple of days) they begin to understand. I have spoken to a couple of press guys but not in the context of an interview.

I am not saying I understand. In fact, I don’t know any expat who really understands just why things here have gone the way they have. Its insane. It is outside the logic that we normally assume in the developed western world.

I replied to the first press request with a long-winded explanation and I appreciated the response I received (thanks JN). I declined. I don’t want to have to repeat that same explanation.

I am not doing this blog for any money and I have no agendas apart from trying as hard as I can to say things as they are. I have been annoyed at times with some quite inaccurate reporting coming from the commercial press. Rather than single out anybody, I have tried to sneak in some of the reality. I am sure I have said it before but I only know what I know.

Some of the commercial press reporting is good. But some of the headlines to stories give the wrong impression. I know that even reporters stories here are cosmetically editted out of the country to obtain maximum effect.

So no, I do not want to be quoted out of context or mis-quoted. I don’t need to be the human face behind the story. I’ll just keep doing what I am doing and if it is not enough, find somewhere else.

I know its the gin talking but I must stick to my guns or what I am doing is compromised just too much.

One day, this will not be a front page story or even a page five story and I will be back to talking about just why the Beach Cafe restaurant closed. At the moment they have a really good excuse.

12 thoughts on “To the press

  1. Whatever did happen to Beach Cafe, man we miss their Pad Thai. Thanks for the updates. Good to have some on the ground reporting that actually seems like a fair account of what ‘s going on. We are now evacuated, hoping and praying everything calms down so we can return. Thanks again.

  2. Hey there, it seems to me that as someone who knows Timor Leste well you have a duty to the rest of us to tell us what you see. The more independent eyes and ears there are reporting back to the rest of the world, the less likely foreign militaries, or governments with an authoritarian streak, will be able to turn local people into victims.

  3. Ari,

    No, I don’t have a duty. That’s not your call. I choose to do it via this blog not via an intermediary.

  4. Hey Ari, Squatted doesn’t get paid to do this blog. What he writes is out of the goodness of his heart and the spare time he manages to give to it.

    We should be grateful there are bloggers everywhere who give up their precious time to put their own observations and opinions out there for everyone else to pick over, abuse and criticise.

  5. Squatter, whatever you say to the press could be distorted to serve the narrative they wish to spin anyway. I say good on you for sticking to your guns and not getting sucked in by the opportunity for exposure (many would be). I have to confess I don’t know as much about Timor Leste as I should, but I do know about the Solomons, and I know that the press ran the line they’d chosen to run with, irrespective of who they spoke to and whether it had much truth in it.

  6. Great ‘citizen journalism’, but more importantly, keep your head down.

    FWIW, the military (like Mick Slater) and others are doing a good job of pointing out how much the media may or may not be distorting things (ask Channel 9).

    Thanks for your objective opinion under difficult circumstances Squatter – a lot of people appreciate it and if I could buy you a beer (or gin), I most certainly would. i doubt I’m the only one making that kind of offer.

    Stay safe.

    Ps. If you come across Isa Bradridge (of the Timor Sun) – tell him to do the same.

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  8. Though we are evacuated, my husband is still in Timor. He said he drove to Landmark yesterday as it was briefly opened. He happened upon a small gang fight where they were using sling shots and rocks. At one point, he saw some journalists ask three “gang dorks” to pose in a threatening position for his photograph. Is that just stupidity or what!!!

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  10. Interesting to hear comments about the media in relation to Dili and your personal views / experiences.

    I hope 106.5FM Radio Australia in Dili is proving to be of use to those remaining on the ground in Dili (as well as to the armed forces) and sincerely hope that 106.5FM Radio Australia’s Dili coverage has remained professional and accurate at all times.

    Mark (from Radio Australia)

  11. I try to listen to AM and ConnectAsia each morning and apart from some shaky observations when it first hit the fan, I think the ABC have done a very good job via the radio medium and the transcripts of interviews on the ABC web site (ie also The World Today and PM).

    Some of the other media is only here for the big stuff, the dramatic pictures etc. So if nothing involving shooting, burning etc. is happening, they report nothing. Or of late, pondering over who “may” be the principal instigator.

    Needless to say, there appears to be a foul stench emanating from all this and we will all be looking forward to seeing from whom the stench emanates and from whom emanates the freshness of a daisy.

    Somehow I think some players have played their political cards carefully and then seen their carefully constructed plans go apeshit.

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