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At UN, Meeting on LGBT Victims of ISIS Is Closed, Censors' Club After

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- Why do some events or speakers inside the UN building get shunted off into closed meetings and then a club, not filmed or webcast by UN Television, while others are in public?

  On the morning of August 24, Inner City Press went to cover the UN Security Council Arria formula meeting about LGBT victims of ISIS' attacks in Syria and Iraq, but found a sign outside UN Conference Room 3 that the meeting was "Closed." Photo tweeted by @InnerCityPress here.

  Even as a speech inside by the UN Deputy Secretary General was promoted, there was no copy of his remarks in the UN Spokesperson's Office, just a slew of Ban Ki-moon remarks in Nigeria (Ban's speech to 150 bankers was entirely withheld.)

  US Ambassador Samantha Power spoke briefing on her way in, and it was said that more would be said after.

  But on this late August Monday, a day when the UN Press Briefing Room with its UNTV webcasting facilities, open to all UN accredited journalists, is entirely open and available, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and an advocate from Syria, Subhi Nahas, are being shunted off into the non-televised private club of the "UN Correspondents Association," UNCA, now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance, publicized only to those who pay UNCA money?

  More troublingly, UNCA and its board members have tried to get the investigative Press, which along with the new Free UN Coalition for Access, has covered IGLHRC's successful passage through the UN's NGO Committee, here , thrown out of the UN.  Is this the right venue, including on the criteria of trying to make the information widely available?

 (Inner City Press likewise covered the process of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the Australian Lesbian Medical Association, among others like Freedom Now, of which it asked the ECOSOC President -- in the UN Press Briefing Room, here.

  If any member state asked for the UN Press Briefing Room, IGLHRC's Jessica Stern and Subhi Nahas of Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) could hold their press conference open to all, webcast to the world. Was no country willing to do it? Surely the US would be willing. Or if not, the UK, or Lithuania, or Chile, or New Zealand, or another. So why not?

 Did UNCA, now the UN's Censorship Alliance, not explain this? We may have more on this. Watch this site.


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