started this petition to
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Network), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and with regional desks in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar, Dubai, and Bangkok, was created in 1995, when the Rwandan genocide revealed that humanitarian reporting in the global South was sadly lacking.
Since then, it has won prizes for its reporting on AIDS and climate change, and in 2013, more than 18 million people visited its website. A UN review found that its Arabic language service (IRIN’s reports are available in English, French, and Arabic) was particularly valuable, as “no other sources provide humanitarian journalism in Arabic language at a time of unprecedented political upheavals and conflict in the region.“
And IRIN accomplishes all this on a budget that’s a microscopic proportion of the budgets of other news agencies. This year, the budget requested from donor organizations for IRIN was $5.8 million. By comparison, Al Jazeera’s budget—back in 2002—was $40 million, and the BBC’s budget for 2012-13 was £4.896 billion.
And yet, in spite of the vital role IRIN plays, and the efficiency with which it operates, IRIN’s parent organization in the UN has decided to wind it down. Is IRIN’s independent voice too much for the UN to tolerate? There are those within the UN who “strongly criticized IRIN for [its] assumed editorial independence. They often accused it of ‘playing both sides, acting as [a UN] insider and outsider at the same time.’”
Is the UN trying to silence a valuable independent voice?
IRIN is an Africa-based news agency with almost 20 years of expertise. Its reporters are, for the most part, local to the regions on which they report. They have unique skills and access that can’t be duplicated. With a very real threat of genocide in the Central African Republic and crises simmering in Sudan and South Sudan, IRIN is more needed now than ever.
Don’t let the UN shut it down. Tell Secretary General Ban Ki-moon you support IRIN and urge him to save this indispensable Africa-based news network.