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On DRC, Reuters Plays Up Ladsous' Allegations, No Mention of Conflict of Interest

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19 – Seeing a headline like “UN chief suggests Congo rebels had outside help to take Goma,” followed by “Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday,” one assumes that Ban actually SAID something, even, to the reporter.

  But when Reuters runs this headline, all that is behind it is a hum-drum regular report to the Security Council of the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Congo, MONUSCO.

  It would not be surprising that MONUSCO, and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations headed by Herve Ladsous, would want to play up outside support to the M23 rebels, since MONUSCO utterly failed to keep M23 from taking over Goma.

  If M23 weren't said to be receiving massive outside support, what does it say about MONUSCO?

  But this obvious conflict of interest in the reporting is not mentioned by Reuters. Nor has Reuters reported that Ladsous was France's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in 1994, defending the escape of the Hutu genocidaire government from Rwanda into then-Zaire, nor Ladsous' refusal to answer Inner City Press' questions at the UN on this period.

In fact, Reuters routinely uses blind quotes from Ladsous' DPKO and the UN, for example on its incorrect January 25 report that the Congo framework agreement would be signed that weekend in Addis Ababa.

  Questions about Reuters policies, including on the use of anonymous quotes, have gone unanswered by Reuters editors like Stephen J. Adler, Walden Siew, and Paul Ingrassia. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reflect they have a POLICY of not answering such question, at least from Inner City Press.

  Reuters' UN bureau chief Lou Charbonneau, first vice president of the UN Correspondents Association through which he tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, is connected to anonymous social media account which slavishly defends Ladsous and MONUSCO.

  Reuters' UN bureau's solicitude is reciprocated: when on Saturday, February 16 Reuters “spotted” a public but personal tweet by a person working for Rwanda's mission to the UN, Ban's spokesman -- formerly of Reuters himself -- was willing to confirm the tweet, and not send the information to others who had been asking about the framework agreement.

  In other circumstances, Ban's spokesperson's office refuses to confirm the authenticity of leaked UN documents, or to comment on news reports; where it does answer, the Office often waits 24 hours and gives the response to all other reporters at once. So what's the deal? Watch this site.

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