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UN Has No Answers on Kyiv Copters & Journalists, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Late on Libya

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 -- After a weekend of mayhem, from Libya to northern Mali, Syria to Ukraine, one expected the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric to have answers on Monday, May 19.

But on Libya, when Inner City Press asked, Dujarric had no answer even though the UN has a mission there.

On Ukraine, Inner City Press asked for the fifth time about the Kyiv authorities being depicted using “UN” marked helicopters, and now the detention and abuse of journalists from LifeNews which ran the footage.

  Dujarric said he had nothing on this either. On the journalist question, he didn't even mouth some generality about commitment to freedom of the press.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access has noted this UN Secretariat's selective invocation of the right to information, and cozy relationship with a scan correspondents' association which has dragged its feet even on the case of a dues-paying member to whom French ambassador Gerard Araud said, on camera, “you are not a journalist, you are an agent.”

  On Burundi, Inner City Press asked about the arrest of a human rights defender for saying on radio what was contained in a UN cable, that the ruling CNDD party is arming and training its youth wing - and adding that the training in happening in Uvira in South Kivu, Eastern DRC which the UN has a UN Peacekeeping mission run by Herve Ladsous.

  Dujarric had nothing on this either, even on if the UN received letters calling for a probe of the cable directed to Ban Ki-moon by NGOs and the opposition political parties. This is called a cover-up.

Finally on Sri Lanka, after a report issued over the weekend casting new light on Ban adviser Vijay Nambiar's role as surrendering rebels were killed in May 2009, Dujarric had nothing on that either.

  Afterward an observer asked Inner City Press if this was the norm, four questions and no answers, and asked why by contrast Dujarric entertained repeated but pointless follow-up questions from the head of the aforesaid correspondents' association. That's why it's called the UN's Censorship Alliance. But should these questions be answered? Watch this site.

Update: after publication of the above, a hard-copy press release by the UN Support Mission in Libya was placed in the UN Spokesperson's office, not emailed out, nor even announced by email. Talk about a soft launch...


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