Inner City Press: Investigative Reporting from the United Nations

Corrupt UN DPI Edits Burundi and Oromo Protests Out of Ethiopia Presser, Censors Await Smale


By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos and video

UNITED NATIONS, September 2 – With the UN Security Council presidency for September being taken over by Ethiopia’s Tekeda Alemu, Inner City Press on September 1 asked Ambassador Alemu four questions, including on Burundi (on the Council’s agenda) and the Oromo Protests, a major human rights issue. Video here.But when the UN Department of Public Information wrote up the press conference, it did not even MENTION Burundi, much less the Oromo protests. See UN document here. What is wrong with UN DPI, a corrupt UN Department which spends $200 million a year in public funds, but doe not even has any rules, content neutral or otherwise, on how it accredits and/or restricts the independent press which covers the UN? Where is the new head of DPI, Alison Smale?   In response to Inner City Press asking why Burundi, where even the UN says there is a risk of genocide, is not on his September Program of Work nor on the agenda of the Council’s visit to Addis Ababa, Alemu on September 1 – not covered by the UN – said that you can’t compare Burundi to Central African Republic, that Burundi has “strong state institutions.” But it is that very “strength,” which some say the country shares with Ethiopia, and with until recently military-ruled Myanmar about which Inner City Press also asked, that has led to the human rights violations. In this context, Inner City Press asked Alemu about the Oromo protests – and crackdown – in his country. He diplomatically chided Inner City Press for not having asked in private, saying that social media has played a dangerous role. Meanwhile the UN brags about its (propaganda) social media work. We’ll have more on this. Alamy photos here. Earlier on September 1 in Alemu’s briefing to countries not on the Security Council, Bangladesh specifically asked that the Council remain seized of the situation in Myanmar. When Inner City Press asked Alemu about this, he said he still had to inform himself more about that situation. The Security Council is traveling to Addis from September 5 through 9, when alongside African Union consultations the Council’s member will meet for an hour with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Alemu said. The Council will receive the “maiden briefings” late in the month of the new Under Secretaries General of OCHA and on Counter-Terrorism. There will be peacekeeping on September 20, during the High Level week of the UN General Assembly, and Yemen on September 26. But tellingly, there will not be Burundi. And when Alemu added Mali to a September 5 meeting, despite his answer to FUNCA, not all media were told. Watch this site.

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http://www.innercitypress.com/undpi1censornowsmale090217.html

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