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South Sudan Editor Locked Up as UN Peacekeeping Bans Press, Condones Threats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- In South Sudan, the acting editor of the Juba Monitor has been in detention for days. One question is what has been the response, if any, of the UN since it maintains a large Peacekeeping mission in the country, run by Hilde Johnson of Norway and Herve Ladsous of France?

  Ladsous openly refuses to answer Inner City Press -- that is his approach to media freedom. Hilde Johnson, when in New York, does take Press questions. But when queries are made in the UN's noon briefing, it takes some time for answers to come back, and they are sometimes are not answers to the questions actually asked.

  On May 2, when Inner City Press questioned South Sudanese journalist Oliver Modi about a statement by President Salva Kiir that his ministers should not speak about government corruption, Inner City Press put the same question to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The answer that came back was to a question previously asked, about a threat by Lakes State's governor to "crucify" critical journalists.

  On this, the UN answered that "UNMISS has informed us that it is not aware of any direct threat against individual journalists in Lakes State. However, general statements of concern have been made and this was raised with the State authorities."

  Without much effect apparently - the acting editor of the Juba Monitor remains locked up without charge.

On May 2, Ladsous' spokesperson Kieran Dwyer justified his boss' refusal to answer questions, then sought to avoid a follow up to false statement he made (for example, that he gives Inner City Press answers to its questions -- actually, these are given first to scribes who never asked the questions, from Ladsous' favorite Agence France Presse, Reuters and even Voice of America).

  To avoid follow up, Dwyer said let's focus on serious problems in South Sudan. Video here, at end.

   Yes, let's. What is the DPKO of Ladsous, who himself Bans critical journalists, doing in South Sudan?

Also on May 2, the UN put on its "World Press Freedom Day" panel Pamela Falk of CBS, the president of UNCA, an organization which spent most of its meetings in 2012 trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN. UNCA & Bloomberg, Voice of America, Reuters, AFP.

 This year under Falk, UNCA "leaders" have descended to anonymous trolling on social media making false accusation of funding by Sri Lankan terrorists, which have led to death threats. The commitment to Press Freedom, of this UN and its UN Censorship Alliance? Dubious at best. Watch this site.

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