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UN Censorship Circus Sees Reuters Dissembling, CBS Clinging to Seat, VOA Celebrated?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- Five days ago, the UN's accreditation boss Stephane Dujarric falsely claimed Inner City Press had impermissibly quoted Pamela Falk of CBS and Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, the president and vice president respectively of the UN Correspondents Association.

  Inner City Press immediately contested the charge, including proving that both were informed loudly, “you are the record,” and Falk replied, “He's going to write this up.”

   But Dujarric has not responded. Again, the only free-press response to false claims and attempts to censor is to publish more about the topic.

   And so as projected today we run another piece of audio. Click here

   This one begins with the “on the record” notice and Falk's “he will write this up,” and ends with Charbonneau making a tortured argument that despite documents obtained under the Freedom of Information, he wasn't a part of trying to throw Inner City Press out of the UN.

   Charbonneau focuses on a complaint he admits he filed with Dujarric. But he does not answer about Margaret Besheer of Voice of America's June 18, 2012 email stating that “my Reuters colleague just told me his people are probably going to go the same route -to press UN to pull Mr. Lee's UN accreditation.” Click here to view.

   Since Charbonneau refused to answer, it's not possible to know what his argument is. Did Besheer lie to her bosses at VOA, Kataryna Lyson, Sonja Pace and Steve Redisch, who on June 20, 2012 wrote to Dujarric asking for Inner City Press' accreditation to be reviewed?

   Despite Besheer's clear role in trying to get investigative Press thrown out of the UN, not only did Dujarric happy-tweet at her in December 2012 -- perhaps to block notation of this, Dujarric has since tried to block Inner City Press on Twitter, strange for an official of the UN's Department of “Public” Information -- in Monday, March 4, 2013 Besheer was the invited moderators at a side event of the Commission on the Status of Women.

  Who gave her this post? The event was French-heavy, but included an Assistant Secretary General of UN Women. Is censorship, then, celebrated at the UN?

  Earlier Monday at the UN Falk took up position in the front row of the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium, seemingly for no other reason than to say her name and that of CBS and UNCA in asking the first questions to Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin then UN Women chief Michele Bachelet.

  While UNCA has lost what legitimacy it might have had as a defender of journalists by actively seeking to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, Inner City Press did not contest either question Monday.

  In both instances it waited then, when called on, before asking its questions on Syria, Sudan and rape in the Congo, thanked the speaker on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, launched in December 2012 to defend the rights of journalists to have due process at the UN, and now proposing ten initial reforms to the UN's rules.

  Dujarric seems to think if he sticks to his false claim against Inner City Press' February 25 story, the needed reforms cannot be pursued. In fact, this all just proves the point: due process rules for journalists are absolutely needed, and since UNCA is part of the problem, the Free UN Coalition for Access will pursue them. Watch this site.

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