UN Excluded Inner City Press From Counter Terrorism Briefing As Guterres Bans NGOs, Ousts ICP

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UN Excluded Inner City Press From Counter Terrorism Briefing As Guterres Bans NGOs, Ousts ICP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 27 – The UN took most of its counter-terrorism money from Saudi Arabia, just as Secretary General Antonio Guterres smiled and took a $930 million check from Saudi's Crown Prince and said nothing about Saudi bombing of Yemen, and now assault on the port of Hodeidah there. On June 18 the UN in New York held a so-called background briefing for only some of the media which cover the UN day to day.  On June 19 Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson, the briefer and the UN's Global Communicator why, with no answer yet in 48 hours. Instead the response has been frivolous complaints about Inner City Press non- or anti-spoonfed coverage. And on June 22, Guterres' UN Security ousted Inner City Press from the UN without even its laptop, during an event at which Guterres gave a bragging speech. Video here, story here, new petition here.

 Now Guterres is seeking to exclude civil society from his counter-terrorism conference, just as he excluded the Press from his ghoulish June 26 river-walk purporting to be committed to free speech, here. We'll have more on this.

  Inner City Press was excluded from the background briefing even as the UN's head of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov gave an interview about the conference to "UN News" Russian language radio chief Elena Vapnitchnaia, introduced by Omar Musni. He spoke of work with Iraq, and of a speaker from Mali, as well as of Google and Facebook. Why was Inner City Press excluded from the briefing then, and why has none of the three officials asked, including USG Alison Smale who among other things is in charge of "UN News," even purported to offer an explanation?

  Inner City Press has criticized Guterres for his silence in taking the Saudi check, and which remains restricted for covering the bribery of the UN by Ng Lap Seng and South South News - which has placed people not only in UNTV but even in UN Department of Public Information - and now by Patrick Ho and the China Energy Fund Committee.

    Other than more targeted censorship, the only rationale for excluding Inner City Press which was one of only five media - including one which also works for UN Photo - covering the Small Arms and Light Weapons press conference on June 18, is that it is no longer a “resident correspondent.”

 This is due to Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who evicted Inner City Press from the UN Press Briefing Room and from its office, and from DPI's Alison Smale, who still has no content neutral rule while putting in Inner City Press' office a no-show Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom. And so on June 19, Inner City Press wrote to the person who took "RSVPs" for the briefing Ms Soares Pinto - who as it turns out work for Dujarric - as well as to Vladimir Voronkov (then in Russia, photos show) and to Alison Smale: "this is a request to be informed on what basis, or using which criteria, it was decided to invite some but not all journalists who cover the UN and Counter-Terrorism to the June 18 background briefing about the upcoming High Level Conference. I am a journalist who covers the UN closes, asks the Spokesperson many questions including about counter-terrorism. I would like to know why I was not informed of the background briefing about the June 28-29 Conference. Please confirm receipt, on deadline." And... nothing, more than 48 hours later, even from the person in Dujarric's spokesperson's office.

  Just as Smale has refused to answer detailed petitions with 5000+ signatures, she did not answer this. She has her husband playing piano at a World Cup event - this is today's UN. On the same June 19, Minutes before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced the US' withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, the doors to the UN Press Briefing Room opened. But nothing was announced. While many media had asked the UN for response, the spokesman for out of town, World Cup bound Secretary General Antonio Guterres arranged for a private “press conference” with Qatar's Al Jazeera. Inner City Press, evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room and its UN work space by Dujarric, was trying to cover the HRC announcement from a small focus booth on the UN second floor. Click here for Inner City Press' Periscope stream. And when UN Spokesman Dujarric led only Al Jazeera into the UN Press Briefing Room on June 19 for a faux press conference to provide Guterres' response to Trump leaving the Human Rights Council and Inner City Press live-streamed it, Dujarric and the Al Jazeera trio he led in -- James Bays, Whitney Hurst and cameraman Bradley McLennan who went in before Pompeo and Haley made the announcement - are trying to further restrict Inner City Press. How can one journalist, with the now required UN minder, live streaming three correspondents and a spokesman be threatening? It is like the fake injuries in the World Cup. We'll have more on this.


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