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Reuters Plays UN Mouthpiece on DRC Rape Inaction, No Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 -- After publicly refusing questions from Inner City Press for months about the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, on Thursday an unnamed UN official huddled with Reuters to try to rehabilitate the reputation of both.

  Now -- unnamed, of course -- the UN is said to be “threatening” the Congolese Army. Even giving the favor of anonymity and positive coverage, Reuters cannot or does not name the Congolese Army units present in Minova from November 20 to 22 at the time of the rapes.

  What triggered the UN's “anonymous” reach out? On March 5, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself about Ladsous' inaction on the Minova rapes, click here to view.

   Now, Reuters does not mention the very public stonewalling by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous. In fact, on November 27 when Inner City Press asked Ladsous about the Minova rapes, he abruptly left the stakeout and took a handful of reporters, including Reuters bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, AFP's Tim Witcher and Voice of America's Margaret Besheer out into the hallway. Video here.

  But Reuters UN bureau didn't write about the rapes then, nor when Ladsous did the same thing on December 7, nor even when Ladsous had his spokesman seize the UNTV microphone on December 18 to try to prevent Inner City Press' question on the Minova rapes. Video here.

   Charbonneau is the first vice president of the increasingly discredited UN Correspondents Association, which said nothing about Ladsous' unprecedented anti-press behavior. It is increasingly known as the UN's Censorship Alliance.

Reuters, at least at the UN, has a history of stealing stories, of granting anonymity without explaining it -- a trademark of the byline on this story, Michelle Nichols -- and of giving positive coverage to the UN in exchange for access. But this is a new low, not only for Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations but for Reuters. Watch this site.

Footnote: Some of the Ladsous stonewalling video footage above made its way into a short film, #LADSOUS2013, here,  which the other side of the UN Censorship Alliance urged not continue to be run. But it must be, it will be, and it will be followed up. Watch this site.

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