On Myanmar, UN’s Ban “Not Talking About the Trial,” Hand Picks Press Coverage

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 — Myanmar’s courts have barred two of Aung San Suu Kyi’s four witnesses, just as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced he will travel to the country on July 3-4. In New York, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesperson Michele Montas if Ban has any comment on the barring of these two witnesses, Win Tin and Tin Oo of the National League for Democracy.

Ms. Montas said of Ban, “He’s not talking about the trial right now.” Video here, from Minute 17:23.

Inner City Press asked, since in previous trip Ms. Montas’ office had informed all UN resident correspondence of such trips and allow them to ask to accompany the Secretary General, if that was done in the case of Myanmar and if not, why not. Montas admitted that it was not done. She said that from among “people who had expressed interest” they “picked people willing to pool for others.” Since Inner City Press has asked numerous questions about the UN and Myanmar of Ms. Montas and others in the UN briefing room, one wonders what “expressing interest” means.
UN’s Ban Tells Only Some Media of Myanmar Chance, Bad Press Left Behind?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, June 28 — With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reportedly still undecided if he will stop in Myanmar on his upcoming trip to Japan, Ban’s press office has nevertheless quietly selected the journalists who would be allowed to cover his visit with the country’s military rulers.

Until now, the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General has informed at least all resident correspondents at the UN of the possibility of a trip, and to apply if they are interested in going.

This time, Ban’s office refused to confirm when asked by the Press that he would go to Myanmar, while behind the scenes pre-selecting which journalists would be allowed to accompany him.

Some see this is a reaction to the increasingly negative media coverage Ban has been receiving. As Inner City Press asked Ban during his last press conference, the Economist rated him three out of ten on speaking truth to power. continue