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UNDP Clark Takes 3 Questions, Nothing on UNDP Corruption, NZ, Money Charged

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 10 -- Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Program, virtually never holds a press conference at the UN in New York. This summer, in fact, the Free UN Coalition for Access twice wrote to her spokespeople requesting such a question and answer session.

  So on Tuesday when Clark finally came, Inner City Press was there, ready with three questions. But the way it was run was pure propaganda. First, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke but took no questions. See photo-op shot tweeted by @InnerCityPress.

  Then when it was time for Clark to answer, Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky gave the first question to the UN Correspondents Association. There is no basis for this; the question was wasted. But this apparently is what the UN wants.

  There has been a major UNDP corruption scandal, the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan. Inner City Press has written extensively about it, putting online leaked copies of audits provided by multiple whistleblowers. UNAMA envoy Jan Kubis often answers Inner City Press that it is a UNDP issue, ask UNDP. See Inner City Press YouTube here.

  But this was no allowed, at Tuesday's propaganda press conference.

  Here is a question that FUNCA asked to Clark's spokespeople this summer without answer:

is it appropriate for Administrator Clark to be reported as supporting her country's candidacy for the UN Security Council?

  Clark's personal spokeswoman did provide an answer about even children being charged money to hear Clark speak in New Zealand. But Inner City Press submitted these follow-up questions, which have yet to be answered:

"Thanks, it has been published in full. But please answer these follow-up questions: given the issues raised by charging money, especially for children, to hear a UN system official speak about their work with the UN, please disclose the cost of the venue, how many tickets have been sold, for how much, and whether any will be refunded (particularly any charged for children's attendance.)"

  To come full circle on this issue of charging money: a clear-cut reason it is wrong for the UN to automatically give the first question to UNCA is that 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS has said that any UNCA member - but only a due paying UNCA member - can have the question.

 Therefore you have a situation in which questions at the UN are being sold for money. We'll have more on this.


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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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