Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, As Press Banned from GA Booth, Charade of UN Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 16 -- Press access at the UN has continued to decline under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  During the October 16 UN General Assembly session to elect five new members to the UN Security Council, the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit came into the GA photographers' booth and said that only "wire service" photographers could remain.

  But MALU has not offered any definition of "wire service," in this new media age. The new Free UN Coalition for Access has demanded such a definition. The other booths belatedly found had no seats, and no sound. But the old UN Correspondents Association was nowhere on this issue - it's become the UN's Censorship Alliance.

  Instead, it was the Free UN Coalition for Access at the October 16 noon briefing questions why Ban Ki-moon held his "travelogue" stakeout at the exact same time as the voting was taking place in the General Assembly, a lack of deference to the universal membership of the GA complained of by many (non P-3) member states. Video here.

   During last month's General Debate, journalists weren't even been able to go to the General Assembly stakeout without an escort from MALU -- an escort that often did not come on time, or come at all.

  There was, as well, substantive censorship. On September 27 while Inner City Press filmed from within the GA stakeout area, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous came over and blocked -- or Banned -- the filming, demanding to know what it was for. Vine here. Then Ladsous canceled the scheduled public Q&A stakeout on Mali.

  While the new Free UN Coalition for Access challenged this censorship, on September 27 at the stakeout and following up the next week, the old UNCA has done nothing about it. In fact, UNCA big wigs have been happy to take private briefings from Ladsous and others, as access at the UN for less "insider" correspondents has continued to decline.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access targeted these censorship practices in a September 29 flier, online, in the UN including on the "open" bulletin board it got the UN to install (the flier was torn down, one can only imagine by whom, but has gone back up.)

   Now, in a typical UN charade, the very UNCA which oversaw this decrease in access -- proposing rules with the UN to eliminate media workspace at the UN Security Council stakeout, for another example -- belatedly says it is concerned and will conduct meetings that are akin to faux, scripted wrestling matches with fake punches. This is the UNCA that played softball soccer with Ban, promoting and allowing him a photo op.

  Tellingly, while the UNTV run-down for October 17 listed a UNICEF briefing on Liberia and Ebola for the same time of the faux UNCA meeting, MALU's "Media Alert" omitted the UNICEF briefing. Still, chided, UNCA belated moved its time back. This was signed by UNCA figurehead Pamela Falk of CBS, nowhere seen during noon briefing fights about media access. Meanwhile the UN Spokesperson's office is promoting a for-pay event for UNCA, by taping a flier for it on its counter. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access has told the UN, again on October 16, that it must address and reverse its blocking of press access, and that if it needs input it must hold a meeting open to all journalists who cover the UN, not just its chosen UNCA -- the UN's Censorship Alliance -- which has become akin to a company-created and supported union.

   Ban's spokesperson's office declined to criticize the September 27 censorship, nor Ladsous' spokesman subsequently asking another media to confirm that it would not air an on the record interview with Ladsous' deputy Edmond Mulet about the UN bringing cholera to Haiti. Video here.

  In fact Ban's Spokesman played a part in, at least defending, a French-only briefing in the UN Press Briefing Room.

On September 23, the entourage of French President Francois Hollande repeatedly but unsuccessfully ordered the UN accredited Press to leave the UN's Press Briefing RoomVideo here.

  On September 25 when the Free UN Coalition for Access asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who peaked out from the VIP / Green Room behind the Press Briefing Room, about the incident, he said sometimes countries try to reserve the Room.

   Asked if other countries had done so during this General Assembly, Dujarric said yes.

   Inner City Press then asked Dujarric which other countries, beyond his native France:

based on your answer at today's noon briefing, please state which countries during this UNGA have used the UN Press Briefing Room for briefing not open to all UN correspondents, other than France at 11 am on September 23. Also, what was your role on September 23 around 11 am in the room behind the Press Briefing Room podium?

 This has been Dujarric's response:

Subject: please state which countries..
From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM
To: Inner City Press
Cc: funca <funca [at]>

I don't have the information on the first point for you. On the second, I'm not sure that I understand it except that I was just looking into the room. I tend to be a curious person.

Stephane Dujarric (Mr.)
Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters

   FUNCA is left wondering: ARE there any other countries? The question has been asked again by FUNCA, elsewhere. And it has been on HuffPost Live, here. Watch this site.

Footnote: as noted the old UN Correspondents Association, which is given privileged status and set-aside first questions nearly always used for softballs, has done nothing in recent years to improve or even defend press access. In fact, members of UNCA's Executive Committee have tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, and there have been no reforms since. It's become the UN's Censorship Alliance. They provide Ban Ki-moon with photo ops playing soccer with them. This is today's UN - and FUNCA is fighting to hold the UN to its stated principles.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]