Even As UN Is Protested, First in Sri Lanka, For Ousting Press, Officials Dig In, UNCA Trolls Mock
Mar 2, 2016 — Today's UN not only does have to care about the laws that apply to others - not only freedom of the press laws, but also negligence law as was on display today when the appeal in a case against the UN for bringing cholera to Haiti and killing 10,000 people was heard, and Inner City Press covered it.
This is one reason that Inner City Press is resisting the UN's lawless ouster of it on February 19, and the UN's cynical offer of much reduced access -- can't interview diplomats and officials down even the second floor hallway, have to leave the UN earlier than other, more pro-UN journalists, can't edit videos or conduct confidential interviews -- as strenuously as it can.
It is a bad message to independent journalists that the UN is sending: you can be thrown out with no due process and no appeal, your laptop can be seized and thrown on the ground, you have no rights at all.
Beyond this petition, which has surpassed 700 but clearly needs more, the UN doesn't yet want to hear, Inner City Press learned on the morning of March 1 of a protest at the UN Compound in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka against the UN's ouster of Matthew Russell Lee and (separately) Inner City Press.
Handwritten signs at the Jaffna protest cited back to questions about Ban accepting a Sri Lanka war crimes suspect Shavendra Silva as one of his Senior Advisers on Peacekeeping, and another suspect Palitha Kohona's involvements with the UN including the White Flag Killings with Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar.
Inner City Press reported how Kohona got UNCA under current president Giampaoli Pioli to screen a war crimes denial film in the UN; Pioli had been Kohona's landlord but did not recuse himself or consult other UNCA member members including, at that time, Inner City Press (which quit and co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access.)
There's video: https://youtu.be/k0xw-M13lI4 An anonymous troll Twitter account which counts among its few followers Cristina Gallach, Stephane Dujarric, UNCA board members and Reuters' bureau chief says darkly this was not a spontaneous protest - whatever that means. The UN's Censorship Alliance.
On March 1 Inner City Press asked Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: on Sri Lanka, I wanted to ask you, there was a protest overnight, whatever the time difference is, at the UN compound in Jaffna by Tamils. And I have to say, the protest was to restore full credentials to Inner City Press and open press. You can find it, it was reported in Uthayan, which is a publication that was burned down repeatedly by the Government that's been spoken of from this podium. So, I know that Stéphane [Dujarric] yesterday said he doesn't agree with the Government Accountability Project. What is the UN's response to a protest at its compound in Jaffna on this topic of free press?
Spokesman Haq: Matthew, I'm not going to comment on your personal case.
Inner City Press: I'm asking about a protest of the UN.
Spokesman Haq: I know that you're dealing with DPI [Department of Public Information]. While you’re…
Inner City Press: I'm not dealing with the DPI. They never spoke to me before they did it, and I'm asking you about a protest. Do you have a comment?
Spokesman Haq: I would have no comment on this, no. Thanks. And let's get to our guest.
So the UN, or at least for now its Deputy Spokesperson, and the official(s) who on March 1 predicted to Inner City Press that nothing will change the UN's mind, they are dug in too deep - don't care about this protest by people the UN already let down and allowed their relatives to be killed.
That is another, larger outrage. As to the UN's disdain for press freedom, please sign and ask others to sign the petition, contribute as you see fit and join us, including the Free UN Coalition for Access.