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On Ebola, UN Nabarro Cautions, After Reuters Hypes Liberia Progress

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 31 -- After Reuters' "editor at large" Sir Harold Evans in Times Square on Friday morning prefaced a question by saying the Ebola crisis is nearly over in Liberia, Inner City Press ran the quote by David Nabarro, UN envoy on Ebola.

  Nabarro said that the World Health Organization data, while most recently showing the rate in Liberia is not continuing to increase may not include all data, and should be treated with caution.

 On treatment, Inner City Press asked if UN national and international staff in West Africa have the same right to medical evacuation, a question on which when Inner City Press has asked the UN has repeatedly dodged or delayed. Nabarro was more honest, saying there is an aspiration to equal and appropriate treatment, but "we don't have all the elements in place." We'll say on this.

  This week UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment when Inner City Press asked about the Philippines quarantining all of its peacekeepers returning from Liberia for 21 days. Inner City Press asked Nabarro, who said generally if people are not showing symptoms, this type of quarantine does not equate with the best public health guidance.

   These peacekeepers were serving the UN - how can the UN Secretariat, Herve Ladsous and Ban Ki-moon, not speak up for them?

  Yesterday morning the International Monetary Fund said in response to a Press questions that the outlook is worsening in the three most Ebola impacted countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. It's a humanitarian and also a business story.

So where is the big business media, for example Reuters, on this?

 Now we can say: Reuters is advertising itself. In a session dominated by Sir Harold Evans, reference was made to Reuters "great" reporters, piped in by video. Sir Harry prefaced one question by saying the crisis is nearly over in Liberia; he said "we" have strained relations with Cuba. Sir?

  US Ambassador Samantha Power spoke in detail, but seemed to ignore China's announcement commitment to Liberia while thanking all the way down to Air Maroc. In fairness, at the end she mentioned an old Chinese plane -- being unloaded by American soldiers.

  The moderator Stephen J. Adler, who previously refused to provide any Reuters policy on crediting other media's exclusives and ignored Reuters attempts to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, took a few questions, including one about why the US doesn't have a Surgeon General. Planted?

  Then Adler called on Tina Brown -- Sir Harry's significant other -- then Reuters UN censor, who has scammed Google into blocking from its Search his own complaint to the UN to try to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, here.  filing, under oath, to Google is here. Both forms of censorship are opposed, at the UN, by the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

  When US Ambassador Samantha Power went to West Africa, she took Reuters along to document each stage. (Here is some alternative coverage, here, here and here.) Upon her return, on October 31 Power will speak at Reuters in Times Square. That event will web-cast, but throughout the week Reuters has been selling its clients first access to quotes from business leaders.

  But there is another side to Reuters. Even when it celebrated itself for getting a leaked copy of the most recent Somalia Eritrea sanctions report, it neglected to report in any way that one of the report's authors was forced to resign after writing a “regime change” plea on UN letterhead. (Inner City Press coverage here, then here and ehere.)

   Reuters reminded silent on this development, clearly relevant to the sanctions story and report, even as it was discussed on camera by the UN spokesman and UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

  Relevant to this silence by Reuters, and making it more problematic, is that the sanctions monitor who was forced to resign, Dinesh Mahtani, used to be in the employ of Reuters. This is how it works.

  While trumpeting its (compensated) “exclusive” publication of leaked documents, Reuters has petitioned Google to block from its Search an anti-Press complaint it filed with the UN, calling it a personal communication and even copyrighted, under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Its filing, under oath, to Google is here. Both forms of censorship are opposed, at the UN, by the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

  The attempt to get leaked documents blocked from Google's Search as "copyrighted" is a strange logic for a company that itself publishes unauthorized leaks. But who ever said Reuters is consistent?

Here's the notice for Power's presentation:

Please join us for a Reuters Newsmaker

Join Sir Harold Evans, Reuters Editor-at-Large, to hear a firsthand report from the front-lines of the Ebola crisis, and its impact on Africa and across the globe.


Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet

Vandi Chidi Minah, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations.

Sheri Fink, M.D., Ph.D. Author of “Five Days at Memorial”

Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, Columbia University

Sharon Begley, Senior Health & Science Correspondent, Reuters

MODERATOR Sir Harold Evans, Reuters Editor-at-Large, author of “The American Century”

Reuters does Ebola - and then sells it? Watch this site.


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