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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


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Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

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On  Sri Lanka, UN Silent on Taranco's Visit, Violence, Press Freedom

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- In Sri Lanka the Buddhist extremist attacks on Muslims by the Bodu Bala Sena in Aluthgama were first met with silence by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's UN, despite the UN's claims of "Rights Up Front."

  Then after Ban sent not Jeffrey Feltman but his Assistant Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Ban's spokespeople have said nothing about the visit. On June 23, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask — Mr. [Oscar Fernandez-]Taranco was in Sri Lanka.  So one, is he back?  Two, what does he have to say about the violence that took place?  And also, did he raise issues with press freedom, including blocking of websites, journalists not allowed to visit --

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  Let me check…

Inner City Press:  Can he give us a briefing here?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I haven’t had a readout [inaudible] on his visit, I will check.

 Eighteen hours later, nothing. This is a pattern: a June 20 written question to Dujarric and his deputy Farhan Haq about Ban Ki-moon evading responsibility for Herve Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping bringing cholera to Haiti was never answered.

 The Friday before on June 13 Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Haq had no comment on another Buddhist supremacist initiative, in Myanmar, to ban inter-religious marriage when Inner City Press asked, video here

  In the UN when Inner City Press reported on the background to Palitha Kohona getting the Rajapaksa government's denial of war crimes, “Lies Agreed To,” screened in the Dag Hammarjkold Library auditorium, the reaction from the then-president and executive committee of the United Nations Correspondents Association are summarized here.

   In Sri Lanka now the Rajapaksa government blocks websites it doesn't like. The UNCA board asked that Inner City Press articles be removed from the internet. This was refused. One UNCA board member claimed to Google that his “for the record” complaint to Dujarric at the UN trying to get Inner City Press thrown out was in fact private and “copyrighted.”  Here is a response from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

   This got it banned from Google's Search, under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which threatens to be globalized through the Trans Pacific Partnership. Who said there is not censorship in the UN, and in the United States?

  Now the new Free UN Coalition for Access opposes all of this, including this UN's stonewalling and selective answering and attacks on media work both inside the UN and further afield.  Watch this site.


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