The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) is investigating the unethical and unprofessional behaviour of well-known Inner City Press correspondent Matthew Russel Lee, who has on several occasions attacked Sri Lanka over alleged war crimes.
One charge against him is that of the alleged harassment of his colleagues at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
A highly placed diplomatic source said that the UNCA executive committee voted 13 to 1 to set up an Examination Board to investigate the charges against Mr. Lee. The only dissenting vote came from Lee who is also a member of the executive committee.
Mr. Lee is on trial not for his attacks on Sri Lanka but for accusing the UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli of ‘accepting rent money’– a legitimate transaction – when he was the landlord of a New York City apartment and rented out to Dr. Palitha Kohona, who is Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN when Dr. Kohona was Chief of the UN Treaty Section some eight years ago.
He has also accused Mr. Pioli of arranging Dr. Kohona and his team to screen the government’s ‘Lies Agreed Upon’ film at the UN under UNCA auspices without asking other UNCA executive board members about the screening.
Mr. Pioli admitted accepting rent from Dr. Kohona but denied the accusation he was biased in favour of Sri Lanka and while Mr. Pioli demanded the article be removed from Lee’s blog, he had refused calling it censorship.
If Mr. Lee is impeached, he would be the first UNCA journalist to be expelled from the association. He has also being critical of Major General Shavendra Silva-the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the UN. Mr. Lee has criticized the UN for appointing Major General Silva to the UN Advisory Panel on Peacekeeping. (Supun Dias)