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Seeking to Censor on Syria, UNCA Board Targets Questions, Trolls Again

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 4 -- While the UN Secretariat purports to be even-handed, it partners with a decaying UN Correspondents' Association which openly tried to censor some questions, even to get some journalists thrown out of the UN.

  Here's a new story on September 4, when a reporter from progressive (and anti-war) WBAI Radio appeared at the day's UN noon briefing and merely asked the question if the Syria rebels may have been the ones to deploy Saudi-provided chemical weapons on August 21, UNCA pushed back.

  First, a Reuters retiree who often speaks for UNCA cut the reporter off, protesting the sourcing of the question.

  Second, after the briefing, this Reuters retiree demanded of Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq, "Who does does she work for?" WBAI Radio was the answer. The reporter, previously excluded by the UN, joined the new Free UN Coalition for Access. (It is also she who on Wednesday deployed the phrase "Reuters retiree" and worse, harkening back to previous attempts at censorship. Simultaneous, the re-started trolling.)

  And @FUNCA_info has raised it: insider scribes should not try to silence other reporters. If Ban Ki-moon continues to exclusively partner with what has become the UN Censorship Alliance, his real position on freedom of the press will become more clear.

  Also on September 4, the UNCA trolls re-started their anonymous social media campaign against Inner City Press. This UN Cowardice Association has gotten Inner City Press targeted with death threats by Sri Lanka Sinhalese extremists; it has tried to turn extremists in Syria against the press.

  Amazingly, UNCA is given a big room by the UN and held a faux "UN briefing" with Suadi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Jarba, publicized only to those who paid money. The UN has refused to answer repeated questions whether this was a "UN briefing," and its relationship with its UN Censorship Alliance.

  This relationship has included enlisting Reuters' UN Bureau chief Louis Charbonneau as a spy for the UN. On June 14, 2012, three minutes after promising not to do so, Charbonneau provided an internal anti-Press UNCA document to UN media accreditation boss Stephane Dujarric. Story here, audio here, document here, with the notation "fyi you didn't get this from me."

  No action has been taken on this, including by the person in charge who spoke Wednesday evening at an event with UN officials Angela Kane and Lassina Zerbo but has not ended trolling by his partners nor ensured any muti-party system. UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS, initially given a chance to reform, has made UNCA even worse that it was.

  While UNCA Executive Committee members re-started on September 4 their anonymous social media campaign, the attempt to shut down questions at and just after the September 4 noon briefing was caught on film. So what will the UN do? Watch this site.


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