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Pointing to Egypt, CPJ Goes Soft on UK and Reuters, Spying Ignored, New Needed, FUNCA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- The UK's nine hour detention of journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda gave rise to outrage worldwide on Monday, even in the UN Security Council (as Inner City Press covered here.)

  But for the old-school Committee to Protect Journalists, the focus was too much. By Monday evening, CPJ's Joel Simon opined on Twitter, "Not to minimize gravity of #Miranda detention but journalists being rounded up in #Egypt."

  Well, yes. But beyond the trend, far from unknown to Inner City Press, to reflexively seek a worse problem elsewhere, this resonated with CPJ's unwillingness even in the face of documentary evidence to deploy its journalist-defense rhetoric on the UN, the UK and as connects the two or three, Reuters.

  Inner City Press showed CPJ that Reuters UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau had tried to get it thrown out of the UN (FOIA documents here and here) -- and CPJ replied that it had more pressing work in Mexico.

  Then CPJ big wigs including Rob Mahoney openly cavorted, in a session sponsored by UNCA which has become the UN Censorship Alliance, with Charbonneau, criticizing every place but where they were: the UN.

  (It's like Human Rights Watch, for example on the DRC -- they so want easy access to the UN and the cache that supposedly brings that they go soft on the UN itself.  CPJ has been shown that the UN has no content neutral accreditation rules, but while the NYCLU spoke out, CPJ did not. Surely North Korea called.)

Now Inner City Press has shown with documents that Reuters bureau chief Charbonneau gave internal UNCA anti-Press documents to the UN's chief accreditation official, three minutes after promising not to. Story here, audio here, document here. But will CPJ, or at least old school Joel Simon, just keep "partnering"?

  CPJ, we're sure, does good work. But it has its blind spots, like anything; it is not sufficient.

  CPJ is an old school organization. Which is fine. But new energy, and new formations, are needed. The Free UN Coalition for Access and affiliates will not turn back. And we can ask about and work on Egypt and the UN's Censorship Alliance with Reuters all at the same time. Watch this site.


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