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In Somaliland, 2 Journalists Out on Bail, FUNCA Protester Says, UN's Partners

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 4 -- Yesterday we reported on the jailing of two journalists in Somaliland, and on Hargeisa-based member of the Free UN Coalition for Access Mohamoud Walaaleye turning from his journalistic activities to the imprisonment until it ended.

  Today, Independence Day in New York and the rest of the United States, we can report that after the protesting, Hubaal newspaper's manager Mohamed Ahmed Jama Aloley and editor Hassan Hussein Kefkef have been released on bail.

  Mohamoud Walaaleye tells us that Minister of Interior Ali Mohamed Waran'ade and the protesting journalists held long meetings after which, while they appeal, the Hubaal editor and reporter have been released. The appeal will begin to be heard next week.

  Meanwhile, what is the UN's position on freedom of the press? In South Sudan, Good News Radio has been ordered off the air for criticizing the government. But try as we might, FUNCA finds no effective push-back by UN envoy Hilde Johnson. As noted, she is too close to the authorities, a growing problem with this UN.

  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, too, the UN is so close with the government and army of Joseph Kabila that it is stonewalling on questions by Inner City Press and @FUNCA_info about its support of the Congolese Army units named in the Group of Experts the full text of which Inner City Press exclusively put online.

  Meanwhile at the request of Kabila's government, Cameroon has banned Thierry Michel's film, "L'affaire Chebeya, un crime d'Etat?” (“A Crime of State?”) about the murdered journalist. These are the UN's partners, like UNCA which tried in 2012 to get the investigative press thrown out of the UN; its first vice president passed internal “UNCA only” documents immediately to UN officials, here.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access has been founded to counter all that. Not only has the UN fought it, it has tried to even outlaw the name and sign of FUNCA. But UNCA has two signs and more, much more.

  At the July 3 noon briefing with Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, before opposing the restriction against questions about Africa (only Afghanistan), Inner City Press thanked Eliasson “on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access.” UN video here, from Minute 19:44.

But when the UN put out its transcript, the name of FUNCA was cut out:

Q: I want to thank you for doing this briefing so soon after you got back, and also I hope that we will have some questions on more general UN items, after, it should be... There is DRC, Haiti and other things going on.”

By contrast, the UN (mis) transcription left in the name of the old UNCA, as recited by its 2013 president Pamela Falk of

Q: Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, welcome on behalf of the UN Correspondents’ Association, welcome back and thank you for the briefing.”

  Who in the UN decided what to cut out of what purports to be a transcript? What is the basis of the deletions? If they cut this, do they cut or change whole questions? Answers? We have asked, twice. Watch this site.

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