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Activists Add Spin to United Nations Debates

Monday, September 20, 2010

WNYC

As world leaders descend on New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, activists and advocates arrive, too, hoping to grab the attention of world leaders -- and the media -- so they can take part in the global conversation.

This year there will be protests, drum circles and even art exhibits, each aimed at addressing a specifc issue.

While President Obama meets with the UN Security Council Friday to talk about southern Sudan's possible independence from the North, some grassroots groups are pushing to keep the violent conflict in Darfur front and center.

And with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in town, Iranian groups are urging increased attention to the country's executions, political prisoners and media censorship. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says such abuses are often overshadowed by nuclear issues. Last week, they released a guide to interviewing the Iranian president -- including tips about his tendency to spin the conversation. "Don't let him lecture," the guide advises, and recommends asking fact-based questions with "yes" or "no" answers.

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