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After UN Raid, Photos of Press' Bookshelf Violate Freedom of Thought

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- When librarians in the US were told they'd have to disclose, not even publicly but to the US government, what people were checking out and reading there was widespread and justified outrage against this assault on freedom of thought and on privacy.

  But now the UN has conducted a raid on March 18 on the Inner City Press office, has taken photos including of the Press' papers and bookshelf and has allowed at least the president, Pamela Falk of CBS, of its UN Censorship Alliance to take photographs.

  After the photographs including of Inner City Press' bookshelves were given anonymously to BuzzFeed through an anonymous “Concerned UN Reporter” e-mail account, they were published on March 22.

  Now Inner City Press is receiving communications, many but not all of them anonymous, some of them threatening, about the contents of its bookshelf: that is, what it has been reading.

  Beyond the UN committing what would violations of the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, this trampling of the principles of freedom of thought, both by the UN and the Executive Committee of the UN Correspondents Association, is a new low.

  UNCA did not object in any way to the raid, and it is clear that “Concerned UN Reporter” is an UNCA “leader,” from the comments made under that name.

  In fact, UNCA leaders have defended and cheered the raid, typically in the at least six anonymous social media accounts they have set up to try to undermine Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access.

Photo but photo of bookshelves not shown:

Ban's UNCA Lunch of the Lost, Feb 7, 2013, credit Evan Schneider, UNPhoto. From left: OSSG's Del Buey; Denis Fitzgerald of Saudi Press Agency; OSSG's Nesirky; Melissa Kent of CBC; Sylviane Zehil of L'Orient le Jour; Tim Witcher of AFP; Ali Barada of An-Nahar; Ban Ki-moon, Kahraman Halicelik of Turkish Radio & TV; Pamela S. Falk of CBS; Lou Charbonneau of Reuters; Bouchra Benyoussef of Maghreb Arab Press; Yasuomi Sawa of Kyodo News; Masood Haider of Dawn; Unknown; Zhenqiu Gu of Xinhua; Stephane Dujarric of UN DPI

  What does it say about the decay of the UN, its Department of Public Information and its UN Censorship Alliance that they raid, take and distribute photographs of an investigative journalists' bookshelf, then refuse as requested to at least disclose who they let in to take photographs?

  Inner City Press has asked just that, in writing and at the UN noon briefings of March 25 and March 26. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, noting that Inner City Press asked the Under Secretary General of DPI, said that the evasive response given by his underling Stephane Dujarric is all that Ban has to say.

  Really? After raiding, taking and distributing photographs of an investigative journalists' bookshelf? Watch this site.

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