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UN Said It Would Put Palestine's Erekat Speech Online May 21, But Didn't

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 21 -- On what basis does the UN, after cutting off the UN Television broadcast of a speech by Palestine's negotiator Saeb Erekat but saying the video would be put online the next day, not follow through or explain?

  Inner City Press asked the first question on May 20 right after the cut-off, and seven and a half hour later was told by the chief of UNTV Stephane Dujarric, "Due to a clerical error the meeting was listed as closed and not available to UNTV. However, we will have a recording made available to us tomorrow. It will then be posted on the UN webcast page."

  In its second story on the UN black-out of Erekat, Inner City Press published that response and concluded, "We'll have more on this tomorrow." That was supposed to mean, about the substance of what Erakat said.

  But 24 hours later, the Erekat video was still not on the UN's website. At a Tuesday evening event of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the General Assembly lobby, another delegation -- not Palestine -- expressed outrage at the blackout, saying "you know who's behind it."

  Actually, we don't. But the UN should take this more seriously. If no video exists, it should say so publicly and give a full accounting. If the video does exist, it should post it online. From both sides of the issue there is interest in what Erekat said. Watch this site.

Footnote: we note because we must that this same Stephane Dujarric is involved in a proposal, apparently agreed to by the old UN Correspondents Association, to try to ban the press from using the Security Council stakeout as a workspace, as was allowed in front of the old (pre-renovation) Security Council, and in front of the interim Security Council in the basement under the General Assembly.

  It is there, at the "stakeout workspace," that the Observer Mission of the State of Palestine often delivered its news, which is now being blacked-out for whatever reason by UN DPI. Ban the press from using the stakeout as a workspace? Especially in this context, we (and the Free UN Coalition for Access) think not.

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