– THE WORLD AS SEEN BY IRIN and the UN

EDITORIAL COMMENT

The UN news service that does not reflect the views of the UN

FEBRUARY 5, 2009 – IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but its services are editorially independent. Its reports, they remind us, do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations and its agencies, nor its member states.

IRIN’s principal role is to provide news and analysis about sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia for the humanitarian community The networks target decision-makers in relief agencies, host and donor governments, human-rights organisations, humanitarian advocacy groups, academic institutions and the media. At the same time, IRIN strives to ensure that affected communities can also access reliable information, so they can take informed decisions about their future.

Today, IRIN in a news item reported that, “academics, humanitarian analysts, practitioners and students are gathered in the Netherlands this week” at the World Conference of Humanitarian Studies. Hosted by the University of Groningen, the conference, the first of its kind, features over 60 panels and dozens of papers on a very broad range of humanitarian topics.

On the basis of the subject matter of the conference, at first glance, upon looking at the names of those individuals on both the organising and programme committies, it is somewhat reassuring not to see for once Iranians muscling-in with their viewpoint on humanitarian issues.

200803193Unfortunately IRIN,  perhaps by coincidence, couldn’t resist reminding us in their news item of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by featuring a file photo no less by Muhammad Ali of IRIN, “of a Palestinian medic injured during an Israeli incursion of Gaza.” (see left)

Of course, there probably weren’t any IRIN file photos available relating to the humanitarian issues in Zimbabwe or Darfur, or Chad, South Africa, Madagascar, Congo, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Afghanistan  . . .

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