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UN Official Ordering Censorship of FUNCA Sign Led March Raid, Shared Photos Which Leaked to BuzzFeed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- That Ban Ki-moon's United Nations has no respect for the privacy guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution was made clear on March 18, 2013, when his Department of Public Information (DPI) conducted a non-consensual raid on the office of Inner City Press, rifled through papers and took photographs including of Inner City Press' desk and bookshelf.

(What DPI did with the photographs it took will be addressed, after three months review and restraint, below in this article.)

  Now DPI in June DPI is making clear it has no respect for free speech or free association -- principles protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  DPI is trying to ban even a sign for the new Free UN Coalition for Access. The person ordering the FUNCA sign down is the same one who led the March 18, and shared photos of it.

  In a rule DPI agreed to with its UN Correspondents Association, the UN now says:

"Signs posted on doors are limited to entry restrictions for example, 'do not disturb' or 'on air.' DPI will provide a name-plate for each accredited media organization."

  But, tellingly, the UN proposes to allow two big signs by its favored UNCA -- now known as the UN Censorship Alliance, which also colludes in restricting smaller media's access to the Security Council and in 2012 devoted most of its meetings to trying to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  DPI on Friday June 14 wrote, "the posting of notices policy does apply to the FUNCA sign... I am afraid you will have to take the sign down." The e-mail came from Broyer but she'd said she would check above her.

  This presumably was with Stephane Dujarric, a DPI official who not only received but in essence encouraged Big Media requests to kick Inner City Press out, including to a non-UN email address he maintains for such "extra-curricular" activity. (There is a movie title that comes to mind, but Inner City Press has been asked not to use it.)

  When the obvious discrepancy with UNCA's two signs was pointed out to the head of DPI on June 14, he said Okay, I will talk to them on Monday.

  But on Monday morning as Inner City Press tried to cover the Security Council meeting on Children and Armed Conflict, now without a media table which existed for years before UNCA agreed to rules banning it, DPI's Isabelle Broyer insisted, "We are trying to apply the posting of signs policy to all... UNCA has its sign outside the space that has been assigned to that organization."

  Why the UN gives a big space for private meetings by a group that tries to get other media thrown out of the UN is a question that needs answering. But by 5 pm on June 17, other DPI staff were outside Inner City Press' door asking, "are they allowed to hang anything on their door?"

  And Broyer wrote again: "I would like to ask you again to removed the FUNCA sign on your door. As discussed with you before, we only allow signs containing the name of the company which is assigned to that room. You can have Inner City Press on your door, if you want."

   Oh, thank you. How can the UN so openly favor one group over another, and try to ban even the signs of the newer group, even from a media's office door?

   Broyer, as it happens, was on-site at the March 18, 2013 raid. She took photographs, and later that day emailed them to a number of non-DPI parties, as well as to Dujarric. These are EXACTLY the photographs that were then leaked to BuzzFeed on March 21, right after that publication contacted Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky to inquiry about the raid.

  We will have more, much more, on all of this. Watch this site.

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