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On Myanmar, UN "Amends" Error After ICP Report, Nothing on Why, Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 -- Even when the UN tries to fix or "amend" one of its errors, does it disclose it and explain what it changed? No.

On May 31 the UN News Center said, of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Myanmar, that "Ban welcomes ceasefire agreement in Kachin."

As Inner City Press wrote and published on May 31, there was a problem: no ceasefire has been agreed to. Inner City Press obtained and put online the actual agreement, here.

On June 1, without further explanation, UN News Center changed its statement, adding that "This article has been amended as of 1 June 2013."

Changed how? Why? The UN does not say. Compare June 1 online version, here, to version Inner City Press saved on May 31, here. Screen shots shouldn't be necessary to avoid being deceived by the UN.

  UN News Center is run by the UN Department of Public Information, whose official Stephane Dujarric has, among other things, demanded explanations of a single on the record tweet by Inner City Press while doing nothing about others'.

  Dujarric told Inner City Press how it should and should not cover and refer to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his chief of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous. That was attempted censorship, particularly when done by the UN official in charge of UN Media Accreditation.

  It is amazing that a Department of Public Information which seeks to give such "lessons" in journalism would make a major change to an erroneous report -- there WAS no ceasefire agreement -- without disclosing what was changed and why.

  This same DPI and Dujarric are in the process of eliminating media workspace and a media table in front of the UN Security Council for years. Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access have questioned and opposed the planned reduction in media access since they were shown the rules, on May 20.

  Before addressing FUNCA's track change comments, Dujarric replied that there will be no table. No one will say when the rules go into effect, or who beyond the old UN Correspondents Association Executive Committee agreed to them.

  On May 31, DPI finally tried to justify the refusal to allow a table where it would fit by saying diplomats in the so-called Turkish Lounge would think the press was eavesdropping on them. Some respect for the media, and principles. We'll have more on this.

  There's more to report on Myanmar -- we'd prefer that to be the focus here, rather than having to spend time fighting to maintain was media workspace and access existed before Ban Ki-moon and this DPI -- including that there have been, Myanmar sources tell Inner City Press, no UN aid convoys to the refugee camps in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization since February.

Ban's envoy Vijay Nambiar is supposed to be advocating for this but it appears he has done little about it, the sources say. Meanwhile humanitarian conditions in the camps in KIO controlled areas remain poor. It is now rainy season so water borne disease will definitely be more of a problem.

 What a good job this UN does - reduce aid and media workspace to report on it, cover up mistakes. Watch this site.

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