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On the Philippines Inner City Press Asks UN About Duterres Threats and Where Heidi Mendoza Is But No Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR PFT NY Post

UNITED NATIONS GATE,  January 9 – In an assault on press freedom, the Philippines  issued an arrest warrant for the Rappler's Maria Ressa. While Ressa posted bail, this is clearly an attack on her accountability reporting. Inner City Press, banned by UN Secretary General from his spokesman Stephane Dujarric's noon briefing for 189 days and counting, in writing asked Dujarric on January 9, "January 9-3: On the Philippines, what is the SG's comment and action on President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly joking about kidnapping and torturing Commission on Audit personnel as he criticized the agency anew over its accountability rules on the spending of government funds? Again, where is OIOS head Heidi Mendoza? Is still still involved in OIOS's (in) actions? What is the status of Inner City Press' filings concerning being roughed up by UN DSS Lt Ronald E Dobbins and others unnamed on June 22 and 3 July 2018?" Hours later, no answers at all, despite the promise by Guterres' USG Alison Smale to UNSR David A. Kaye. Today's UN is corrupt - more corrupt than many it criticizes. Earlier, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about the case and pretextual use of tax charges against investigative journalism back on November 12. But despite Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale's promise to UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye that such questions would be responded to, there has still been no answer to that, or to any of Inner City Press' questions for the past two days, including on the UN bribery trial of US v. Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently accepted $250,000 from AT&T and now provided a venue for an ad for the Golden Globes on NBC, tonight at its International Press Freedom Awards at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street. In a tease more than one month out, Meher Tatna the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association told the corporate heavy audience to "tune in January 6." This was balanced, thankfully, by a heartfelt speech mentioning the Nuba Mountains by Amal Khalifa Idris Habbani of Sudan's Al-Taghyeer. Inner City Press has asked the UN about (here, before being roughed and and banned without response from CPJ), reported on and campaigned for Ahmed Abba of Cameroon, but it was strange that when he appeared in person he had not a word for the plight of the Anglophones, and lavished praise on Radio France International. We'd like to hear more ont this. CPJ chair Kathleen Carroll, who as we reported had a locked / private Twitter account when she took the post, has now renamed it and gone public. But does she know that Joel Simon and Rob Mahoney, who on paper work for her board, have done nothing on censorship by the UN three blocks from this gala? Last year there, before Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Security and then subject to an ongoing ban without a single hearing or opportunity to appeal, Inner City Press ran to the Grand Hyatt and did interviews until the 7 pm censorship witching hour it then had to get back into the UN by, see here (and here for 2016, Shawkan.) This year, neither is true - now we tell nothing but the truth, which is that wihe CPJ does some good work, regarding the UN it is a paper tiger. Director Joel Simon repeated brushed off alerts of imminent censorship with "let's have coffee" until Inner City Press was roughed up by UN Security in the UN's Vienna Cafe. CPJ did nothing when UN Secretary General and his ex-NYT Under SG Alison Smale had Inner City Press roughed up and banned. Its Deputy Robert Mahoney said CPJ couldn't sure sure why Inner City Press was roughed up and banned. Video of rough up here, video of Mahoney's November 1 answer here. Ironically, see the CPJ affiliated Press Freedom Tracker entry here. It just wasn't convenient for CPJ to stand up to the UN, which it uses to launch its reports and for face time with Guterres who is a press unfriendly censor. Some great Protection, there. In September 2018, when Inner City Press had RSVP-ed and been accepted for a CPJ event in the UN and the UN simply didn't print the ticket, CPJ did nothing. This, in fact, is called collusion. While the other journalists honored (Luz Mely Reyes of Venezuelan website Efecto Cocuyo, Vietnam's Mother Mushroom Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Anastasiya (Nastya) Stanko of Ukaine's Hromadske and Maria Ressa of The Philippines' Rappler) are deserving, there is something wrong with CPJ, at least as regards the UN. For an event in the UN about press freedom, with presentations by the heads of the Committee to Protect Journalist and Reuters, Inner City Press submitted an RSVP and was told "You are confirmed to attend Press Behind Bars: Undermining Justice and Democracy this Friday, Sept 28. The event will be held in the United Nations Headquarters ECOSOC chamber from 11-12:30 PM... we recommend you pick up your tickets on Thursday, Sept. 27 in the lobby of Reuters at 3 Times Square 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (7th Ave. and 47th St.). There will be a table on the left." But despite CPJ's confirmation, there was no ticket for Inner City Press at Reuters nor an hour before the event, and 14 hours after informing the chiefs of CPJ and Reuters, at the Olympia Cafe on Friday morning.

Inner City Press has written to CPJ's Joel Simon, Rob Mahoney and Courtney Radsch, and Reuters' Stephen Adler who will speak at the event: "This is to inform you that after RSVP-ing and being told I could attend CPJ's and Reuters' press freedom event, at the Olympia Cafe just now at the CPJ table I was told my name was submitted to the UN but the UN blocked it, and CPJ accepts that.

That is inconsistent with the Protection of Journalists in CPJ's name, and with claims made by Reuters, which is on notice of and has a role in this. When I asked those at the CPJ table about this they said, “Take it up with the UN on 46th Street.” But I cannot get through, and my 11 emailed to UN DPI's Alison Smale have gone unreturned as have three emails to Antonio Guterres - who I'm told has ordered this lawless ban, for my coverage - and his Deputy.

I wrote to CPJ repeatedly about this targeting, censorship and lack of due process and nothing was done. I am at the bus stop on 2nd Ave and 46th Street, forty minutes before your Press Freedom event I submitted a timely RSVP for and was told I could attend.

I urgently await your response and action to reverse this." Watch this site.

  It seems obvious that a journalist - particularly one who has faced hindering of reporting noted in the CPJ affiliated US Press Freedom Tracker and in the Columbia Journalism Review, here. But when Inner City Press went to pick up its ticket at Reuters, it was not there. So Inner City Press wrote to CPJ, Joel Simon, Robert Mahoney and others. This has been the response: "Hi Matt, We submitted all the names of those who RSVPed to the UN on Tuesday, including yours, as required. We were given the tickets today and were informed by Reuters after you went there to lick up your ticket that there was no ticket for you. CPJ was not informed of which RSVPs were denied tickets. We support the right of journalists to cover UN activities. I can only assume this is due to the withdrawal of your credentials, but I will email the UN and would suggest you do the same. However, please understand that we do not control the tickets and can only make a request to the UN.


Dr. Courtney Radsch
Advocacy Director
Committee to Protect Journalists"
Inner City Press replied: "Hi - even before writing to you, I wrote to the UN, to the very top: Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed and her chief of staff, see below. It will be an outrage if I am barred from attending and covering an event about press freedom - even as a private citizen like many others who RSVP-ed. So I ask you / CPJ again to ensure that I can attend. Would you hold an event where critical journalists were denied access with no due process, no appeal, nothing in writing, simply "disappeared"? That is what this is, at this moment. Encouraging you / CPJ to ensure this does not happen. You have been told enough in advance. I will respond and try to help this be solved at any hour until the event."

CPJ replied, deferring entirely to the UN in a way they would not, or one hopes they would not, to a country: "Dear Matt, We have reached out to the media liaison office to inform them about this and ask if they can assist. I'm afraid we have no control over which tickets the UN grants, and we were not informed of any names on the submitted list who were not granted tickets. I'll keep you informed if we hear back. If this is not resolved, I invite you to watch the livestream at

Courtney " UNacceptable - Joel Simon and Mahoney are on notice of this issue. More to follow.

In an abundance of caution, Inner City Press earlier on the afternoon of September 27 wrote to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Deputy Amina J. Mohammed - and this and the non response hours later has been raised to CPJ: "DSG Mohammed: I just witnessed - well, watched on UNTV because I remain banned from the UN - your stakeout with Neven Mimica at which the two of you received only one question. Last year, before being roughed up and banned, I asked you questions, video here.
Since I wrote to you before yesterday's "UN human rights" event, I was removed from the waiting line at the Visitors Entrance by UN Security and told I have a current and active barred notice against me, something I have received no written notice off much less any opportunity to be heard or to appeal. I learned yesterday that your Office of the Spokesperson is claiming to people who ask that I "took a swing at a Security officer" on July 3 - entirely false, I was the one roughed up, it is on video -- and saying I remain banned because of questioning diplomats on the sidewalk. As should be clear, I do that because I cannot question them at the stakeout, or in the briefing room which was nearly empty today at noon, only one question. I believe you should answer this / take action so that Inner City Press can enter the UN. There is nothing I have done in the past year any different that what I did before, including under Ban Ki-moon. The only difference is your Administration. Tomorrow there is a press freedom event at 11 am I have RSVP-ed for; on Monday Bolivia takes over UNSC Presidency and I would like to ask questions at the Program of Work press conference. I urge you to act to end these now 86 days of exclusion, now more than ever after your one-question stakeout. Please confirm receipt and act." But five hours later, from Mohammed and her chief of office Nelson Muffuh, and a cc - nothing. And when Inner City Press went to Reuters in Times Square (between 43rd and 42nd Street, not 47th), the person behind the CPJ table said somehow the ticket was not there but she would e-mail in less than an hour. Nor has that happened. We'll have more on this. Here's their description of the event: "The Committee to Protect Journalists will hold a panel discussion during the U.N. General Assembly to highlight global press freedom challenges, with an emphasis on Myanmar, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Kyrgyzstan as countries where journalists are imprisoned for their work and denied due process. The cases of Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are emblematic: they were set up by Myanmar police, falsely arrested, convicted under Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act, and sentenced to seven years of hard labor, all in a protracted effort to silence their truthful reporting.
Panel Event from Q&A 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
JOEL SIMON, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists
STEPHEN J. ADLER, President and Editor-in-Chief of Reuters
This will be the first time that Ms. Clooney, who is representing Reuters and the two reporters, is speaking on the case. Mr. Adler will speak about Reuters’ perspectives on the case and how it impacts Reuters’ global newsroom.
Mr. Simon will discuss the cases of blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid who are imprisoned in Egypt; photojournalist Shahidul Alam, jailed in Bangladesh; and journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is serving a life sentence in Kyrgyzstan.
#FreeThePress  #FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo."

 Inner City Press is told by sources close to Guterres that he was and is so angry at Inner City Press' anti-corruption questions and reporting that he is intent maintaining a life time ban, even as he blathers about human rights. His Deputy Amina J. Mohammad and chief of staff go along; troublingly, new Commissioner was written to but did nothing. Her staff handed out tickets in chaotic fashion on 46th Street, to such insiders as Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch which has done nothing about the lawless "permanent ban" list of the UN that HRW loves so much. But for new Commissioner Bachelet to be so quickly corrupted or defanged? We'll have more on this. On September 24 for a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, Inner City Press was on September 24 singled out and banned, despite having its RSVP accepted by the Mission of Liechtstein and even UN University.  Video here.


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