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On Myanmar, UN Misleads on "Ceasefire Agreement in Kachin," Spin As on Access?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 31 -- What's wrong with the UN? On May 31 it said, of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Myanmar, that "Ban welcomes ceasefire agreement in Kachin."

There is only one problem: no ceasefire has been agreed to. Inner City Press has obtained and now puts online the actual agreement, here.

Likewise it is reported that Myanmar "and ethnic Kachin rebels signed a preliminary agreement on Thursday...The parties however, failed to reach an official ceasefire agreement."

So why would the UN, through its Department of Public Information, misleading announce that "Ban welcomes ceasefire agreement in Kachin?" (DPI's reporting was criticized during the recent UN Committee on Information meetings, which Inner City Press covered, as gently as possible.)

  This is the same Department of Public Information which has been claiming for ten days that eliminating a media worktable that existed in front of the Security Council for years, before the relocation for renovation and since, is in fact somehow NOT a reduction in media access.

  That claim is false. At best we can say that some atop DPI don't understand, or don't want to understand, how coverage of the Security Council has worked for years now, with reporters using laptops on a table in front of the Council in order to be there when ambassadors leave in the middle of meetings, or speakers come during all day open debates.

  To stand for hours is unnecessary: but it's what Ban's DPI and its partners are for now demanding.

Perhaps rather than inaccurately playing at reporting, DPI should pay more attention to its claimed role of ensuring the independent journalist can cover the UN and how deals are done here. Some deals are ugly, including deals to mislead, and misleading about deals.

So is it that the UN's DPI, on Myanmar, is intentional misleading about what was agreed to in Kachin? Or, like how the Security Council has been covered for years, is it that they just don't understand or don't care? We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

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