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For Trip to DRC & Rwanda, UN Lets France Pick Its Scribes, Despite Genocide

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- When the UN Security Council goes on a trip with media to Rwanda and the Congo, who decides which reporters can go?

  In this case, France -- a country which sided with the genocidaires in Rwanda, and which has installed one of its diplomats who argued for the genocidaires' escape, Herve Ladsous, as the head of UN Peacekeeping.

  How is this fair? But it is how the UN works.

  This too: notice of the opportunity for some reporters to go on the trip was sent out at noon on September 18 by Pamela Falk of the UN Correspondents Association, whose Executive Committee member Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse filed a complaint with UN Security leading with how Inner City Press asked a question to Ladsous about the DRC.

  UNCA's first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters takes "leaks" from France and the UK (while leaking TO the UN), and on the DRC routinely parrots their line about Rwanda supporting the M23 rebels.

  (Charbonneau and Witcher were linked last week in MediaBistro to imposter Inner City Press social media accounts, the culmination of nine months of anonymous trolling link to UNCA, the UN's Censorship Alliance. Their anonymous comments complained Inner City Press is "pro-Rwanda" - explaining the trip decisions, and why Inner City Press will write rather than appeal.)

   Inner City Press has asked -- why was information about a UN Security Council trip distributed only to those who pay UNCA money? After this question was raised, six hours later, a notice to the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's full list was sent. But the question remained unanswered.

Inner City Press immediately notified Ban's spokesperson's office of its interest in going on the Security Council trip, as it went on in 2010.

But on Friday evening, the following arrived:

From: Jerome Bernard [at]
Date: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Security Council trip to Africa
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress [dot] com
Cc: Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info

Hi Matthew,

I am sorry but because of the very limited number of seats in the UN plane it won't be possible for you to travel with the Security Council for this trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

I am sure there will be other opportunities for travel in the future.

Best regards,

Jerome Bernard
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

  So who made this decision? Inner City Press is informed: the French Mission, they are in charge of the trip. What a charade. A journalist should not have to appeal to another country to be treated fairly.

  Inner City Press writes extensively about the DRC (in fact, it first reported that this trip would happen). In 2010, Inner City Press went on a Security Council trip to Africa. Has its reporting declined since then? For 2013, @InnerCityPress was named a "Twitterati 100" by Foreign Policy magazine, one of only two covering the UN.

  Inner City Press has asked for a list of the scribes France hand-picked to cover "its" trip to the Great Lakes region. Going forward, the new Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info is seeking to reform both corrupt information flows and a UN which allows a country which supported a genocide to chose which media fly in the UN plane to cover it. Watch this site.


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