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At UN, UNCA Complaints for Ladsous, Fake Tweets Tied to Reuters, AFP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 10 -- Emboldened by the UN's raid on Inner City Press' office on March 18, and un-acted on leaking of photographs of Inner City Press' desk and bookshelf to BuzzFeed on March 21, the UN correspondents of Reuters, Agence France Presse and CBS have hit new lows.

  After inquiries within and outside of the UN, including yesterday's expose of anti-Press moves by and in the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Inner City Press is raising the issues, including to the top executives of Reuters, AFP and CBS News. In that order:

  Reuters UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau led a campaign starting in 2012 to seek to get Inner City Press dis-accredited from the UN. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Voice of America show this, but Charbonneau has refused to answer questions about them, and so far Reuters has done nothing.

  As a continuation of the Reuters campaign, Reuters UN correspondent Michelle Nichols filed a false complaint with UN Security on March 8, 2013.

  Nichols' complaint, which Inner City Press must assume she has shown or will now show to Reuters executives, complains, to UN Security no less, about articles Inner City Press has published.

  Nichols intentionally mis-describes a verbal disagreement in which she spoke to Inner City Press first, and Inner City Press criticized a story which was spoon-fed to Reuters by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous after he refused Inner City Press questions on the topic for over three months, but which tellingly Nichols' complaint calls a Reuters “scoop.”

  Also tellingly, Charbonneau after the false complaint filed by Nichols whom he supervises filed his own complaint with UN Security, re-submitting a stealth complaint he had filed with UN official Stephane Dujarric in 2012; Charbonneau now complains to UN Security about the content of Inner City Press' articles.

  For the UN correspondent of a major wire service -- whose executives have been on notice as least since e-mails of May 30, 2012 through July 2, 2012 -- to file a false security complaint against the content of a smaller more investigative media is troubling. For the Reuters bureau chief to repeatedly do so is more troubling.

   But there's more.

  So far in 2013, at least five anonymous social media accounts have been established seeking to undermine both Inner City Press and the new Free UN Correspondents Association, which Inner City Press co-founded.

   One account began on March 23, 2013 with a reference to a non-consensual entry into the Inner City Press office on March 18, resulting in anonymously leaked photos appearing on BuzzFeed.com on March 21. The account fired off 18 messages from March 23 to March 29, when it stopped entirely for ten days.

  The account re-started just after midnight today, with five messages now referring to anonymous comments entered below the BuzzFeed article. The new messages also refer to UNCA -- the UN Correspondents Association of which Reuters' Charbonneau was and is first vice president.

  Probatively, the Twitter account of Michelle Nichols, which is also syndicated on the Reuters web site, also stopped for ten days starting on March 29, when Nichols said that she was going to Australia, and also restarted only yesterday.

  What will Reuters top executives, who were already on notice in 2012, now do? Inner City Press has previously brought it to the attention and sought recourse from Reuters social media guru (who asked a question, then never followed up), and several Reuters correspondents in Africa. But nothing has been done.

That's Reuters.

  As to Agence France Presse, its Tim Witcher began a campaign in September 2011 to seek to Inner City Press expelled from UNCA, then dis-accredited from the UN. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Voice of America show this, but AFP has done nothing.

  Now as a continuation of the AFP campaign, Witcher also filed a false complaint with UN Security on March 8, 2013.

  Witcher like Nichols complains, to UN Security no less, about articles Inner City Press has written.
 
  Witcher also intentionally mis-describes the verbal disagreement in which he spoke to Inner City Press first, hissing the words “lies and distortion,” and Inner City Press criticized a story which was again spoon-fed to AFP by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous after he refused Inner City Press questions on the topic for over three months.

  Tellingly, Witcher began his complaint asking the UN to act against Inner City Press for shouting at and abusing UN under secretary general Herve Ladsous as he came down the stairs for the meeting.

  First, what Inner City Press asked Ladsous was for the identity of the two Congolese Army battalions he had supposed given an April 1 ultimatum (still not acted on as of April 10). Witcher's description is false.

  Second, it is inappropriate for AFP to formally complain to the UN about how another media asks questions of Herve Ladsous -- particularly but not only because Ladsous previously served on a management board of AFP.

  Witcher was witnessed by a FUNCA member tearing down substantive fliers posted by FUNCA. Is this AFP's commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of association? Or does AFP stand for, at least at the UN, Anti Free Press?

  All of this has taken place under the UNCA leadership of Pamela Falk of CBS, who ghoulishly took photographs of the UN's March 18 raid and then issued a legal threat to Inner City Press, from her CBSNews.com e-mail account, to not even ask about it.

  Now CBS News' Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, after big wig Jeff Fager, and Joseph Gelosi and Kevin Rochford, have been asked about it.

  The UN, at least under current management, undermines freedom of the press and has created this climate. The reporting will continue. Watch this site.

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