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On Minova, Ban Ki-moon Spokesman Admits He Had Answer to ICP's Qs, Gave 1st to Reuters & AFP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 12 -- A day after Inner City Press asked, on the 126 rapes in Minova, what “assurances” UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous had gotten, the question was belatedly half-answered at Friday's noon briefing. “Several” alleged rapists have been arrested; some commanders of unnamed battalions have been suspended.

  Inner City Press immediately asked if "several" arrests meant just the three it asked about, and for the UN to now name the battalions.

  We say “belatedly” because after Inner City Press on April 11 asked the question, and before Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey read out the UN's response 24 hours later, Ladsous' spokesman Kieran Dwyer gave the answer to Inner City Press' question to Louis Charbonneau of Reuters and Tim Witcher of AFP, Ladsous' first and main defender.

  In the past Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky has tried to excuse this blatant favoring or use of media friendier to Ladsous as out of his control. He told Inner City Press that when HE get the answer, he gives it to Inner City Press.

  But on Friday Ban's deputy spokesman Del Buey said that HE had the answer to Inner City Press' question, but that Reuters and AFP telephoned for it and it was given.

  He then claimed paradoxically, but we include it here in fairness, that it is not a question of "favored" media. How then should it be phrased? How about, lapdogs?

   Why not at least make sure to give it to the media which actually asked the question? Del Buey had no answer, said he “noted the objection,” which is also on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

  This type of practice by the UN should have been confronted by the old UN Correspondents Association, but never was. It is that UNCA is run by and for Big Media, mostly the wire services, who benefit as friendly stenographers of UN officials like Ladsous.

One Reuters reporter, Michelle “The Troll” Nichols, even claimed that to be spoon-fed answers to Inner City Press' public questions by Ladsous and his three spokespeople constitutes a “scoop” for Reuters.

  Nichols said this in a false complaint she filed against Inner City Press on March 8, mis-describing a verbal disagreement at the UN Security Council stakeout about exactly this practice, of DPKO handing Reuters and AFP answers to questions Inner City Press has asked Ladsous or at the noon briefing for weeks.

  Nichols' cynical attempt to turn a verbal disagreement -- which she initiated -- into a supposed security incident followed the strategy laid out by her bureau chief Lou Charbonneau, who told the Department of Public Information that unnamed diplomats -- can you say, French? -- asked him whether based on Inner City Press' published media critique he didn't feel insecure.

  Physically, he hastened to add.

  Inner City Press told him, there's nothing to fear in that regard. But media critique is legitimate and will continue. Meanwhile, the anonymous social media trolling of Reuters and UNCA continues.

  UNCA long ago lost its way. But a company like Reuters? Perhaps from naivete, it's surprising. Watch this site.

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