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UN Allows Censorship by N Korea of Art Show, Leaves It & Press Restrictions UNexplained

By Matthew Russell Lee, video here

UNITED NATIONS, August 5 – The day after an art exhibit in the UN had four paintings removed by North Korea, the acting head of "Global Communications" for the UN declined address the UN's role in this and other censorship. Maher Nasser who took over on April 1 from Department of Public Information chief Cristina Gallach, named in the UN's own pre-guilty verdict audit of Ng Lap Seng's lawless purchase of another art show in the UN, was asked about continuing Gallach's restrictions on Inner City Press, and about North Korea banning the paintings.  He did not even purport to respond on the later, and dissembled on the restrictions on Inner City Press. First he said "You have same access for accredited media." But this is false: for example, the Egyptian state correspondent Sanaa Youssef his DPI is trying to give Inner City Press' long time office to could stake-out General Assembly meetings without having the minder Inner City Press is now required to be accompanied by (this also cuts into what questions can be and are asked, the purpose of minders.) Youssef, purportedly representing Sisi's Akhbar al Yom, didn't even come in for Egypt's August 2 press conference, nor the August 5 Security Council meeting under Egypt's presidency. It is a fraud. While Nasser cited a policy about the UN Bookstore - where numerous dubious pro-UN books are for sale - he refused to state what "policy" results in a critical media present and asking questions after day being restricted, without hearing or appeal, and a no-show state media that asks no questions having its office and full access. Youssef is a former president of the pro-UN (and Ng Lap Seng funded) UN Correspondents Association; another former UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli hosted Nasser at his Hamptons shindig. Earlier on August 5 Nasser lavished praise on a pro-UN piece by yet another former UNCA president, here. So Nassar hob-nobs with people who vowed to get Inner City Press evicted for its coverage, while continuing the restrictions on Inner City Press. Global Communications, indeed. We'll have more on this. The show that opened in the UN Delegates Entrance on Friday night promised to have four paintings by North Korean artists, without the approval of their government, set for further sanctions the next day. But when Inner City Press attended the show, all four paintings were gone and pages 49 through 52 had been ripped out of the show program it picked up.

   The co-host with Vanuatu of the exhibition, who was quoted in the July 31 New York Post that “the initiative is under the table — very low key,” told Inner City Press exclusively on August 4 that the four paintings had been removed and that at some later date a single approved work would be submitted by the government of North Korea -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in UNese.

Inner City
                        Press photo at (censored) art exhibit at UN
Photo at exhibit in UN, Aug 4, 2017, (c) MR Lee, ICP

    The recent history of art shows in the UN is full of controversy. The Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, convicted on July 27 of six counts involving bribery of the UN, funded a one-man show that was deemed improper by a subsequent UN audit put online by Inner City Press, here. (The official who allowed that show without vetting, Cristina Gallach, later evicted Inner City Press from the UN, in which it remains restricted).

   At the August 4 event, complete with red and white wine and lamp chops, former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power's spokesman Kurtis Cooper was present, although it was not clear in what capacity. Periscope video here. UN Security maintained a perimeter around the event, and UN staff managed and provided the sound. As such, the UN oversaw censorship, now as then. And this as a US-sponsored resolution to impose further sanctions on North Korea is set for a vote on August 5 at 3 pm, as cravenly described by an anonymous “Security Council diplomat” whom the New York Times and Reuters left unnamed “according to protocol,” as the New York Times put it. This is how the UN works - or doesn't.


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