UN, Korean Press Wars & Bed Bugs in BBC & NHK, No Q&A
With Ban in Seoul
November 9 -- The UN's relations with the Press range from
bugs to snubs to turf wars. Since the middle of Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's trip to China, the UN press corps has been full of
questions why Ban didn't mention the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner
Liu Xiaobo. Major media outlets asked Ban's spokesman about the
omission day after day.
he did not hold any regular press conference. Rather he appeared one
morning at 9 am to speak about climate change. When nevertheless a
China and human rights question was asked -- albeit one that did not
mention Liu Xiaobo -- Ban read from prepared notes that he had
mentioned human rights three times in China.
the days after
that, still no press Q&A with Mr. Ban Ki-moon. Then after holding a
press availability only for the Korean media he left for
the G-20 meeting in his native South Korea. On November 9 his acting
Deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq announced that Ban would be holding a
press conference -- in Seoul.
the groans in
the press area of UN headquarters, on the second floor of the Dag
Hammarskjold Library, there was also on the night of November 8 a
belated test for bed bugs. Inner City Press broke the bed bugs story,
last year about the UN's “swing space” on 46th Street and last
month in the basement of the Library and then elsewhere.
conducted on the Library's first floor and third floor -- where UN
Under Secretary General for Management Angela Kane is based -- but
not on the second, where the Press offices are. Ban's spokesman
Martin Nesirky explained to Inner City Press that tests are based on
requests. So a request was made.
some 90% of the cubicles of UN-based media organizations including
this one were subject to a canine test, “no cameras allowed.” On
November 9 the results were released: two offices were infected,
those of BBC and NHK Broadcasting. We'll leave readers to draw their
in Seoul Ban
Ki-moon prepared for the press conference he didn't hold in New York,
on the same second floor of the Dag Hammarskjold Libary a turf war
was breaking out. In what was previously in the Secretariat called
the J or Japanese Room, the “K” or Korean wing is said to often
Ban at Republic of Korean pavillion in Shanghai, bugs not shown
reporter for Japanese media moved in to fill the void, due to limited
space for her media. A few verbal altercations ensued, until the UN's
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit was called in. MALU has a rule
that media must be at the UN three days a week to have an office.
some of the
Korean media it is alleged -- and even admitted -- that the three day
test is not met. The perception among numerous correspondents is that
the Korean media is protected, by Ban Ki-moon and his senior adviser
Kim Won-soo. (In fact, a story is told of Mr. Kim proffering a deal
to UN reporters, to get Korean outlets space.)
avoiding the UN press corps, any attempt to question the status or
presence of Korean media organizations will inevitably be seen as
more than bureaucratic. And so a fight impends.
those who question this piece's focus on Seoul then the Korean
media, it is worth noting that this year's UN Day concerts was even
more Korea heavy that previously reported. A Korean symphony played,
sponsored by Korean Broadcasting, begun by a video touting the
wonders of Korea. Afterward, Inner City Press got a text message that
Ban surfaced at a reception at the Korean Mission just across from
the UN. Amid the bed bugs and unanswered questions, there is more
and more grumbling. Watch this site.
* * *
Campaign Stops on Park Ave at CFR, Coups, Cases & Debt Scoffed At,
Osama Likened to Che Guevara
November 9 -- Pervez Musharraf is on a roll, or thinks he
is. After launching his All Pakistan Muslim League in the UK, he has
held roll out events in hotel ballrooms in Florida and New Jersey.
Tuesday morning found him at the Council on Foreign Relations in
Manhattan, fielding questions about how and why he plans to reclaim
power in Islamabad.
own praises, that after his 1999 “coming into power” -- as his
CFR biography tactfully puts in it -- he grew the Pakistani economy
until, he said, it had more promise that India's.
were “stirred up against” him, foreign direct investment has
dried up and 50% of factories have closed, in his telling.
other stories are told, of how Musharraf hurt the electrical power
market, allowed for the first time the US to fly drones over the
country, attacked the judicial system. (Click here for
Press recent coverage of
Pakistan and the International Monetary
Fund, on power subsidies and textile taxes).
there are no court cases against him in Pakistan, and that if any
began now it would be “political.” Meanwhile, in his New Jersey
appearance where he took no questions from the media, he accused
Nawaz Sharif of stealing $1 billion and hiding it in London.
were taken, chosen
by NPR's Deborah Amos from among “members,” as
she put it. At least one member called on was a journalist, Lawrence
Wright of the New Yorker. The last question was finally given to the
back of the room, but to (at least) 32 year CIA veteran Jack
Devine of the Arkin Group, who
asked about Osama Bin Laden and Pakistan's seven tribal areas.
Bin Laden to Che Guevara, saying the latter was able to evade capture
Musharraf, 9/20/06, before the stir up
He said that
the tribal areas were left undeveloped as a buffer
between Russia and India, there there is “two to three percent
literacy.” Bin Laden “is viewed as their guest,” Musharraf
said, recounting how on one of his visits, he traveled virtually
without security because he was protected as a guest of an elder.
Nation, beyond possible court cases Musharraf has been told not to
return to Pakistan due to a lack of “security arrangements.” This
heralds back to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto when she
returned. The UN's three person investigations panel's report left
open many questions as to Musharraf, but no one raised it at the CFR
was unclear if
Musharraf viewed his appearance as part of his campaign, or more akin
to a speaking tour. He said he's spoken in Hong Kong and is going to
Nigeria, that his son in Palo Alto started his Facebook page on which
he has 350,000 friends. But how many enemies? Watch this site.