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Ban's Jarba Meeting Not in UN Media Alert, But UN Photo Was At Ban's Residence

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Saturday at his UN-provided home on Sutton Place with Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel Ahmad al Jarba, Inner City Press at Monday's noon briefing asked about the lack of disclosure.

   Among other questions, Inner City Press asked why the meeting had not been listed in the UN Media Alert.

  Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky on this replied, "the meeting that took place at the Secretary-Generalís residence on Saturday evening. This was arranged at relatively short notice, and therefore, it did not figure in the Media Alert. Another reason for it not being in the Media Alert is precisely because it took place at the Secretary-Generalís residence. That is his home. I think you will understand."

  But now Inner City Press does not understand. Because accompanying Ban up to his residence at the end of the (UN) workday on Saturday, September 28 were not only at least two bodyguards but also a staffer from UN Photo.

How do we know this? Because UN Photo has published a photograph of Ban going into his residence, "at the end of an intense week of the General Assembly's sixty-eighth general debate and numerous other high-level meetings." Click here to view.

And, we surmise subsequent to Ban's entrance, there is another UN Photo of Ban sitting on his couch reading papers, captioned "Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at his residence at the end of an intense week of the General Assembly's sixty-eighth general debate and numerous other high-level meetings." Click here to view.

Clearly, UN Photo needs some work on captions. But our point is, if his residence is as private as Nesirky's arch answer made it out to be, why did Ban take a UN-paid photographer there with him, to document himself in his house?

And when, in comparison to this photo-shoot, did Ahmad al Jarba arrive? Why was there no photograph of that?

The new Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info has repeatedly asked the UN, through its Department of Public Information, to ensure that newsworthy items and meeting outside of the UN compound be put in the UN Media Alert, and assurances were given (but not followed through). But this meeting with a Saudi sponsored rebel, not put in the UN Media Alert, was clearly newsworthy.

  There was, "to feed the beast" as one observer put it, a 106 word read-out of Ban's meeting with Jarba, longer this his read-outs with many Presidents including those of Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Brazil (and that's only on "Light on Latin America").

  But why was no photograph taken, or at least, why was no photograph published? Why was it no update made to the UN Media Alert, as was done Monday afternoon to alert reports that Ban would be accepting Four Chairs from Oman? Click here for that UN Photo. And, watch this site.


 

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