U.N. announces media information services in E. Timor.
The United Nations announced Tuesday a mass media campaign here to make people aware of the U.N.'s presence and activities ahead of the Aug. 8 referendum. Spokesman for the U.N. Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) David Wimhurst said the campaign will get under way Wednesday with the publishing of a special page in one of the four Indonesian-language newspapers here, the Suuara Timor Timur. The paper has a circulation of about 8,000. Later this week, special radio and television programs are planned to begin broadcast. They are to be aired daily until the end of August in the languages of Indonesian, Portuguese, native Tetum and English. "We will communicate on a daily basis the messages that we have to pass (on) concerning the entire consultation process," Wimhurst told a news conference. He said the broadcasts will start with a prerecorded message by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The U.N. has also provided various information materials to 300,000 to 400,000 East Timorese eligible to vote in the poll, he said. As for the radio and television broadcasting, Wimhurst said the U.N. has arranged to cooperate with Indonesia's state-run radio and television stations. "To set up a radio station of our own would be a lengthy business," he said. UNAMET is a special U.N. mission that has been deployed in East Timor following the May 5 agreement between Indonesia and Portugal to hold a referendum for East Timorese. On Aug. 8, registered voters will be asked to chose between remaining with Indonesia as an autonomous region or to separate and begin a process toward independence. Wimhurst added that around 400 U.N. volunteers and assistants would start registering voters in the coming two or three days. Around 90 U.N. staff members from a number of member countries are currently helping with the referendum process. In mid-June, 272 civilian police from U.N. countries are planned to arrive in East Timor to help and train Indonesian police. East Timor, formerly a Portuguese colony, was invaded by Indonesia in 1975.