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After Foley's Murder, Echo at UN of "Journalist as Agent," Hypocrisy of UNCA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- Following the outrageous beheading of journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the UN Security Council late on August 22 issued a press statement, to be on its website here.

  The UNSC statement calls for accountability and states that "journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are generally considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such.

   That journalists should be respected was a position the UN itself took in April 2014 after then Security Council participant Gerard Araud of France told a Lebanese correspondents whose questions he didn't like, "You are not a journalist, you are an agent." Click here for that, including video.

   Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about this. Dujarric said that journalists should be treated with respect -- but declined FUNCA's request that he convey this position to Araud (who has since left the UN.)

  Back in April, it was notable but not surprising to Inner City Press, which co-founded FUNCA, that the supposed representative of journalists at UN Headquarters the UN Correspondents Association never admonished Araud.

   UNCA's Executive Committee has functioned as the UN's Censorship Alliance, trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, and then for example seeking to censor -- by getting Google to ban from its Search -- leaked evidence of its anti-Press complaints to the UN, here.

  Given this record within UNCA, with no reforms since, it was not surprising but all-too-UN for this UNCA Executive Committee to issue its own grandiose statement about James Foley. They didn't do this for journalists killed in Eastern Ukraine... and see above.

 Hypocrisy at the UN is not in limited supply, for example the Secretariat refusing to accept responsibility for bringing to cholera to Haiti - but this is particularly grating. This is UN, all too UN. Longer version here. Watch this site.

 

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