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After UN Raid, Falk's Trolls Contrast With Brazilian's FUNCA Manifesto

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- While the UN raided Inner City Press' office on March 18, without notice or consent, it allowed Pamela Falk of CBS, the president of the UN Correspondents Association, to take photographs.

  In 2012 this UNCA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN for stories it published about the fourth French chief of UN Peacekeeping in a row, Herve Ladsous, and about war crimes in Sri Lanka.

  In 2013 under Falk, UNCA has gotten worse, for example passing photographs of Inner City Press' desk and bookshelf to BuzzFeed though an anonymous “Concerned UN Reporter” e-mail address.

  The UNCA leaders then followed up with anonymous comments under that and other monikers, including “Chocorama,” “UNmediadefend” and “Mundo111,” previously used to send an UNCA letter to the Guardian UK. Click here.

  Yes, Inner City Press has been critical of the UNCA leaders, particularly since the 2012 expulsion attempt. But its critique are on the record, in its name.

  We have previously shown the connection between Mundo111 in 2012 and the 2013 defense of Voice of America in a comment on BuzzFeed.

  But who are the elusive or ashamed UNmediadefend, the exotic Chocorama, the ubiquitous Concerned UN Reporter?

  Chocorama's repeated focus is on how Inner City Press is funded. This question was raised in the UNCA Executive Committee by Denis Fitzgerald, then a “judge” and now, perhaps as a reward, an Executive Committee member at large. Audio here.

  It was and is a strange fixation for Fitzgerald, who while employed by the Saudi Press Agency spend time tweeting and faux blogging about soccer, Ireland and sucking up to the UN how ever possible.

  While operating as a hatchman in 2012 he said his acts shouldn't be linked to his employer, the Saudi Press Agency. What was that about transparency and (oil) funding?

  Concerned UN Reporter uses a unique phrase, calling Inner City Press a “cyber bully.”

  In the UNCA Executive Committee in 2012, it was Bloomberg News' UN reporter who introduced that term.

  It seemed strange, that publishing on the record a story about how Ladsous got the UN Peacekeeping job, then following up with Agence France Presse tried to get the story condemned or taken down, could be considered “cyber bullying.” But there it is.

  It is understood that Bloomberg News, unlike AFP or Reuters, instructed its UN reporter to stand down from prosecuting and voting against the Press. But Bloomberg has no rules on related anonymous trolling?

  UNmediadefend, in defense of UNCA, insists on its stated 200 members -- out of more than 2000 reporters accredited each year by the UN. Of the listed 200, many have long left the UN, some are retired. But UNmediadefend doesn't care -- and why not, it is anonymous.

  By contrast, Brazilian photographer Luiz Rampelotto of Europa Newswire who co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access commented on BuzzFeed, with name and picture, on the record. That is one of the difference between FUNCA and UNCA, now known as the UN Cowards' Association. There are others.

  A point here is that Falk and the rest have been on notice of anonymous UNCA social media accounts for some time, and have done nothing (except use them).

  A “David Spring” -- NOT his real name -- commented to BuzzFeed that Inner City Press made a reporter cry. This was a topic raised and used in 2012 by Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, then as now the first vice president of UNCA.

  To explain, an Italian reporter at the UN took so much offense to Inner City Press quoting another correspondent about the unfairness of so many Italian media getting offices, and all near each other as “Italian row,” that she cried.

  Inner City Press apologized but seriously, the UN's unfairness in given out office space has had to be raised in 2013 as well. Three separate affiliates of the US State Department, including Voice of America, each have separate offices, while other countries' wire services were asked to share space. Who's crying now? Watch this site.

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