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In Cuba Free Press Charade, UN Disclaims Links to Its Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNdisclosed Location, March 21 -- Today's press freedom charade between the UN and its UN Censorship Alliance known as UNCA must be seen in context.

  UNCA without notifying the many journalists covering the UN who are not UNCA members set up a press conference for today at 3 pm in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.

   UNCA's claimed legitimacy, not only to use the UN auditorium but to demand the first question at UN press conference has formally been contested, for months, by the Free UN Coalition for Access.

   Cuba on March 18 complained to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the event, UNCA and its president Pamela Falk, who they said is without ethics -- as FUNCA does, after Falk stood photographing the UN's raid and search of Inner City Press' office on March 18.

  As noted, even within UNCA there is a growing call for Falk and her first vice president to resign.

   This morning, scrambling, UNCA sent its members a new invitation, moving the event to something called “UNCA Square.”

 But there IS no “UNCA Square.”

 There is, in front of the office of the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, a “MALU Square,” where after UNCA refused to open up its glassed in bulletin board to posts by non-UNCA members the UN after advocacy by the new Free UN Coalition for Access put up a non-UNCA board.

  UNCA nearly immediately began posting on the non-UNCA board as well, without opening up their own. They posted some events, under the signature of UNCA president Pamela Falk -- as is done in some “authoritarian” countries.

  At Thursday's UN noon briefing, after all questions but one were consumed braying about Syria -- not a single question on Africa, where 70% of the UN's work is -- Ban Ki-moon's spokesman was asked for comment on the 3 pm event.

  He read out a statement claiming that UNCA is an “independent entity.” But not only is UNCA -- undeservedly -- a formal party to the UN's Media Access Guidelines -- the UN uses UNCA to get critical journalists thrown out, and most recently lets UNCA's president photograph their raid, under color of authority, on the Inner City Press office.

  So it's a big scam, on nearly all sides. Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, who complained to MALU trying to get Inner City Press thrown out, then refused to answer questions about documents obtained under FOIA showing UNCA and Reuters support for Voice of America's formal June 20, 2012 request to the UN's Stephane Dujarric to “review” Inner City Press' accreditation, presented himself as a free press defender, shamelessly.

  He plays Rasputin, now to Pamela Falk. Why WAS she taking photographs of the raid on Inner City Press' office on March 18?

   Can FUNCA unilaterally hold an event documenting corruption in what it will deem “FUNCA Square”? Watch this site.

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