Wednesday, 20 January 2010, 01:34 UNCLAS STATE 005277 SIPDIS MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY TO THE CHIEF OF MISSION OR CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EO 12958 N/A TAGS PREL, KPAO, KDEM, OIIP">OIIP, HA SUBJECT: Personally Engaging on Haiti
1. The tragic earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath pose enormous challenges to the people of Haiti, our nation, and the entire world community. As we seek to rescue trapped victims, assist survivors, and help Haiti begin to rebuild, the American people and our government have marshaled unprecedented resources to help, reflecting the best of our nation's values.
2. I am deeply concerned by instances of inaccurate and unfavorable international media coverage of America's role and intentions in Haiti. This misinformation threatens to undermine the international partnership needed to help the people of Haiti, and to damage our international engagement across the range of issues. It is imperative to get the narrative right over the long term. Where you see ill-informed or distorted perspectives in your host country media, I direct you as Chief of Mission to personally contact media organizations at the highest possible level - owners, publishers, or others, as appropriate - to push back and insist on informed and responsible coverage of our actions and intentions, and to underscore the U.S. partnership with the Government of Haiti, the United Nations, and the world community. It is important that you and other members of your Embassy team engage opinion-makers in setting the record straight on America's commitment to assist the Haitian people and government in recovering from this disaster.
3. I also ask you to report back to me through your Assistant Secretary, citing specific examples of irresponsible journalism in your host countries, and what action you have taken in response. This is a personal priority for me and I will be looking for your reports.
4. The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, working with your regional Public Diplomacy Offices and your Public Affairs Officers at post, will ensure you have the latest facts and talking points. The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) has assembled a regularly updated Haiti Earthquake Assistance page to assist your efforts: https://infocentral.state.gov/haiti-earthquak e- assistance. The Under Secretary will also coordinate a regular ALDAC cable conveying the latest facts and talking points.
5. Please let Under Secretary McHale and your regional Assistant Secretary know if you need additional information or other support to carry out this important engagement effort.
6. I thank you for your personal attention to this very important matter.
7. Minimize considered. CLINTON