Journalist Matthew Russell Lee most hated for his courageous journalism

| by Rajasingham Jayadevan

( February 20, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mathew Russel Lee – an investigative journalist, who opened the close door dealings of the UN to the common man, is a hated journalist for his courage to expose the questionable functioning of the UN operations.

Mathew Russell Lee
Mathew Russell Lee is the Editor of the Inner City Press and is a member of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA). The operating address of the online Innercity is: United Nations Room L-0253, New York, NY 10017.

The Innercity Press has proved itself of being committed to publishing on the spot news about issues developing at the UN. As a critical journal, it dissects the frustrating state of affairs at the UN, where lack of transparency and hidden agenda’s work hand in hand to undermine the founding principles of the UN.

Sri Lanka is one of the nations that came under critical review of the journal. If not for Mathew Russel Lee, constraints of the UN and its inability to distance itself from persons of conflict of interests and war crimes prominence would not have been brought high on the agenda.

For his critical write ups, the Innercity Press editor has come under criticism by conflicting parties whom he exposed. His media was branded as ‘one man show’ by none other than the frustrated Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Palitha Kohana.

His news reports confirm that even the responsible UN officials detest seeing the editor at news conferences and they struggle to answer questions posed by him.

On the Sri Lanka’s situation, Mathew Russell Lee is one of those who put Sri Lanka high on the international agenda like the fearless Chanel 4 and the International Human Rights NGOs. .

One following his explosive writings will be guessing how Vijay K Nabiar, a veteran Indian diplomat and the Chef de Cabinet (Chief of Staff) under UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon since 1 January 2007 can hold on to his position in the UN having been accused of complicity in the war crimes in Sri Lanka.

United Nations do not have criteria’s for member states to appoint their representatives. There is no whetting process before accepting an appointment- a process that is even followed by a corner shop before employing someone. The very founding principles of the UN is being challenged when persons accused of indulging in war crimes are being appointed by the member states to undermine the very credibility of that organisation.

If Adolph Hitler was surviving and ruling the post war Germany when UN was formed, he too would have sent his war criminals to the UN. If the UN had faced this predicament then, procedures would have evolved to prevent alleged war criminal reaching the UN and enjoying the unprecedented diplomatic immunity.

Sri Lanka’s representative Dr Palitha Kohane is being accused of involving in the discussions and giving direction to carry white flags to the LTTE men and their family members who were blatantly killed by the soldiers under Defence Ministry orders. Whilst there are misgivings about General Shavendra Silva, Sri Lanka's deputy U.N ambassador, the UN mechanism permitted the alleged war crimes General to be incorporated in to the peacekeeping advisory panel of the UN Secretary General.

UN reporting mechanisms must be broadened to accommodate more such in-depth media like the InnerCity Press. UN wanting to bring about good governance practices in member states must incorporate such practices in its own yard to earn credibility. InnerCity Press’s role on this will definitely have bearings and the UN eventually transforming to meet the changing needs in its operations.