IRIN news agency leaves UN with help from Asian tycoon
The UN news agency IRIN said Thursday it was leaving the world body to become an independent non-profit organisation thanks to a cash injection from a foundation backed by an Asian billionaire.
After 19 years of reporting news for the United Nations, the news agency said it was “starting a new chapter”.
In its new guise, it will produce content in Mandarin and Spanish alongside its current services in English, French and Arabic.
“Outside of the UN, IRIN will be better positioned to critically examine the multi-billion dollar humanitarian aid industry,” it said in a statement.
IRIN, which was set up within the UN’s humanitarian agency in 1995 following the Rwandan genocide, caters especially to the humanitarian and diplomatic communities around the world.
Once it begins its independent existence at the beginning of 2015, it will “continue to do what we do best: deliver in-depth reporting on crises often forgotten by the mainstream media.”
The spinoff was made possible by a $25-million (20-million-euro) contribution from the Jynwel foundation, created by the Hong Kong-based Jynwel Capital Limited investment and advisory firm, run by Malaysian billionaire Jho Low.
“IRIN’s transition presents a great opportunity for growth and revitalisation,” Jho Low told reporters in Geneva.
The news agency, which already receives some 280,000 monthly website visitors with its services in English, French and Arabic, will expand to produce stories in Spanish and Mandarin “to reach new audiences,” he said.
The businessman, who routinely surrounds himself with models and members of the global jet-set, stressed that IRIN would “keep its full editorial independence.”