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On N. Korea, VOA Errs on ICJ, Darusman Quiet After Sri Lanka Failure

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 17, updated thrice -- On North Korea there was little question which way the UN Commission of Inquiry would come out at its February 17 press conference in Geneva.

  But in the hour before it began, US state media Voice of America reported that "China has said it will block the report from reaching the International Court of Justice."

  Update: after publication of this article, VoA made the correction, but never noted that the article had been changed. The original is here.

   The error was obvious, or should have been to VoA or its Broadcasting Board of Governors: the report urges referral to the International Criminal Court -- of which the United States is not a member.

  When CoI chair Michael Kirby began the press conference, the UN gave the first question to Voice of America. Kirby rambled on, including among North Korea's many sins that there is no contact between professional organizations in North and South Korea. Is that a human rights violation?

   Citing the "cult of personality," Kirby said that Kim Jong-un is followed around by scribes with "little books to take note" of everything he says. (Also on February 17, Voice of America breathlessly announced that "VOA correspondent Scott Stearns, who is traveling with Kerry, said the secretary wants the international community to use a break in the talks to figure out how best to pursue a political solution.")

  After Kirby let it be known that in Australia his mother was a member of the Communist Party, he referred to his fellow panel member Marzuki Darusman as being present. Darusman answered no questions until Reuters' contrast with Syria and Darfur. Darusman previously worked on a panel about Sri Lanka, which has yet to lead to any accountability.

Footnote: By contrast to the censors' circus at the UN in New York, there was no branding of the press conference by ACUNA there, unlike the United Nations Correspondents Association insistence to say its name even when briefed, like last week, by the spokesperson of the President of the General Assembly. (Only after that did the new Free UN Coalition for Access do so - it opposes censorship.)

  During the webcast Democratic People's Republic of Korea press conference, UNCA president Pamela Falk of CBS sent out tweets with minimal information but containing, as promotion, the name of UNCA. Cult of personality?

Update II: More than three hours later a CBS story issued, concluding that Ban Kimoon "has not yet issued a statement but will probably have a response, according to his pokesman [sic] Martin Nesirky." This is called insider, with questions and answer withheld even from other UNCA members, and of course from the public, and no hard questions, click here for that.

Update III: by 10 pm in New York, Ban Ki-moon had NOT sent out any comment; the CBS site without noting it deleted the quote from Ban's spokesperson and added as if the same thing South Korea's ambassador Oh Joon. When things are removed, they should be noted; when UNCA under Falk, backed away from taking the Samsung TV from Oh Joon's mission, they should have explained why. Then again, they didn't even distribute Ban's Q&A to their own members. Watch this site.


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