Inner City Press

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

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

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

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, Press Blocked From SG & Philippines FM, Criticism of Callamard UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee, Eritrea, Iran

UNITED NATIONS, October 3  – The UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres hit a new low on September 29, when it banned Inner City Press from Guterres' handshake meeting with Philippines foreign minister Cayetano, then did not issue any read-out of the meeting. Now we know why: it is reported that Cayetano in the meeting criticized the UN's Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. Can Guterres or his spokespeople not even acknowledge such criticism? On the morning of October 2, Inner City Press asked Guterres' top three spokespeople to "please provide a read-out of the SG's meeting with the Philippines foreign minister on September 29, including but not limited to any discussion of UN's Agnes Callamard." Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, who delayed then provided a troubling statement on the government crackdowns in Cameroon, did not even acknowledge this Philippines question much less answer it, a day later. At noon on September 29 Guterres' spokesman, when Inner City Press asked whether there would be any action on UN staff in Myanmar describing retaliation by UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessalien, said only that Guterres stands behind Lok-Dessalien. So much for whistleblower protection. On Cameroon, Guterres' belated concern is not about killed civilians, but "territorial integrity." Then for a 2:45 pm photo op of Guterres and Philippines foreign minister Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Inner City Press arrived hte prescribed half hour early. It was screened and then told to wait, even after 2:45 pm. When it was allowed into the conference room, the handshake had already taken place. Dujarric, seen on 37, had earlier refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about UN Security surveillance camera(s) over the UN media bullpen, or safeguards on the use of the footage. This is Guterres' UN. After Guterres grip and grin sessions on the UN's 27th floor during UN General Assembly high level week, his meetings and photo ops on September 27 with the foreign ministers of Eritrea and Iran were back on the 38th floor, with USg Jeff Feltman at both meetings. Both countries are subject to sanctions; Iran's Javad Zarif was on his way to speak at the Asia Society. He entered jauntily. Guterres, his spokesman told Inner City Press, is often about "private" diplomacy. Here was his Eritrea read-out: "The Secretary-General met today with H. E. Mr. Osman Mohammed Saleh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea.  The Secretary-General and the Minister for Foreign Affairs exchanged views on a number of issues, including cooperation between the United Nations and Eritrea, and the peace and security situation in the Horn of Africa region." We'll see.  On September 26: with Patricia Scotland of the Commonwealth and then Maldives foreign minister Mohamed Asim were back on the 38th floor, at 5 and 5:30 pm respectively. But the desire to keep the Press from seeing anything was so strong that instead of having it stay waiting between the two behind a wall on the 38th floor, as was done for UNTV and is done with other photographers, Inner City Press was made to go back down to the second floor. By the time it was brought back up, Guterres' handshake with Asim was already over. Unlike for the Commonwealth, Alamy photos here, this Maldives photo op was useless, or at least unusable. Issues raised to the UN Department of Public Information have gone entirely unaddressed and unanswered. And Guterres' office of the spokesman, earlier on September 26, declined to allow Inner City Press a question to Guterres' South Sudan envoy David Shearer, on whose watch a journalist was killed, by the government there, in August. This is today's UN. Back on September 17 the day before the UN reform speech by US President Donald Trump, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held a meeting and short photo-op with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. Alamy photos here. Present was the UN's long time envoy on the "name issue" (FYROM / Macedonia), Matthew Nimetz. Kotzias signed the visitors book first; Guterres told him no one else could be in the room while he signed. So that he could, if needed, write that he was taken hostage? On the agenda, one imagines, is Cyprus and the Crans Montana failure. Before that was the president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sanchez, who insisted despite Guterres' resistance on signing the visitors' book before the grip and grin. Alamy photo here. When the read-out comes out, we bet Dominican deputy ambassador Francis Lorenzo, who pleaded guilty to UN bribery in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe case, is not mentioned in it.  Before that was Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein. Photos on Alamy here. Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric showed up just before the meeting, but even of the Saudi meeting an hour before there was still no read-out. [Then this update.] It was not at his office on the 38th floor, but rather in a suite on the 27th floor with an Oriental rug, two flags and a small stand on which to sign the UN Visitors' book. Under Guterres the UN has become (even) less media friendly, with the investigative Press restricted to minders and, on September 16, barred from entering to cover a UN Media Alert-listed even on Guterres' signature issue, refugees. Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale, petitioned on these issues since September 1, has done nothing to reverse them. UN is both UNprepared and UNfair - including on such issues as Myanmar, Yemen, Burundi and Cameroon. Next up,on September 18, US President Trump, Ambassador Nikki Haley and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the UN's ECOSOC Chamber.  On September 12, Guterres was scheduled to take the credentials of four countries' new Ambassador to the UN. But a fifth one, Cote d'Ivoire, was added without any notice; then the International Sea Bed Authority's representative, for whom Inner City Press was asked to leave. As Norway's Tore Hattrem left, he told Guterres he would be working hard next week. Guterres responded that it was a "merry-go-round." Earlier in the day Guterres gave a job, the Oceans Envoy post, to just-former President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson. It's not only a merry-go-round, it's a revolving door. Here are Inner City Press' Alamy photos of the new Ambassadors of Ecuador (Diego Fernando Morejon Pazmino), Norway, Guinea Bissau (Fernando Delfim Da Silva) and Iraq (Mohammed Hussein Bahr Aluloom). The UN is getting more and more murky; Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to say how NGO(s) purchasing an event in the UN General Assembly Hall on August 23 were vetted, even after the Ng bribery verdict. On August 18 Guterres said that the UN's principles are those of humanity; he made much of Miroslv Jenca being from Slovakia. Meanwhile his spokesman wouldn't confirm that Jenca's colleague Taye-Brook Zerihoun is leaving, to be replaced by Kenya's Monica Juma. We'll have more on this. There were: Gabon PR Michel Xavier Biang, Lithuania PR Audra Plepytë, Slovakia PR Michal Mlynár, Slovenia PR Darja Bavdaž Kuret, NZ PR Craig John Hawke, Ireland PR Geraldine Byrne Nason, PR, Ireland and Francophonie PO Narjess Saidane. On August 16 Guterres schmoozed correspondents about Croatia and his vacation; after a stakeout in which he refused to comment on the Ng Lap Seng verdict, photos here, he had a 4:30 pm photo op with meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. Photos on Alamy here; Inner City Press Periscope here; it was the only media there other than a lone Serbian cameraman. Guterres called Dacic young and the latter replied that he is 51. Then the press was ushered out. Before Dacic arrived, Guterres squired out a duo who was not on his schedule. As noted, a diplomat complained Guterres is "just bringing in people he knew in Geneva, nothing new, no improvements." On Press freedom, Inner City Press must concur: it remains restricted for covering now convicted Ng Lap Seng's bribes; the Egyptian state media the UN is trying to give its office wasn't even present for Egypt's August 2 press conference, has never asked a question. And on transparency: the sources said seven day, but when Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric on July 31, Dujarric said for two week, Guterres will be "in Europe." Periscope video here. He is on leave, on vacation. On August 1, Dujarric repeatedly said the Secretary General thinks this, feels that - and Inner City Press asked, how do you know? At briefings in Washington reporters routinely ask, did you speak with your principle about X, Y or Z. But the UN feels it doesn't have to answer. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: in the answers you were giving about the Secretary-General believes this on Venezuela, thinks this, can…