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At UN, Gallach Evicted & Restricts Press From Reform, Churkin & SDGs Events, Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20 – One year and one day ago, acting against Press coverage of her and Ban Ki-moon's links to UN corruption cases, Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press physically ousted from the UN.  Audio here.

  Since then a campaign of harassment by UN Security and the requirement that Inner City Press unlike other media have minders to stake-out public events in the UN has continued.

   The hindrance of Inner City Press' coverage ranges from formal General Assembly meetings to February 20 events on "revitalizing the General Assembly" to the SDGs and even the death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

  Inner City Press arrived early at the UN to cover revitalization or reform, but could only get to the area in front of the meeting when accompanied by an escort, and a watchful minder throughout. Several diplomats commented on it; some saying they'd like to talk with the Press, but not like this. This is censorship, targeted censorship. Other correspondents who do not cover the UN as closely or critically wandered by without any minders required.

  After news broke of the death of Ambassador Churkin, Inner City Press returned for a 3 pm meeting at which, because of the death, a handful of other correspondents also staked out. But while the UN correctly allow them to roam, Inner City Press was limited to a penned in area, even as the SDGs were discussed. Given what DPI under Gallach claims, this is hypocrisy, too. And it must end.

  Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom's rarely present correspondent Sanaa Youssef to whom Gallach is trying to give Inner City Press' shared UN office was once again not present, and has yet to ask a single questions. This is a scam.

 On February 17 for the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

  Wanting to ask about disappearance from Kenya to Western Sahara, Inner City Press arrived early to get the still-required minder to accompany it to the area in front of the Trusteeship Council Chamber, where other journalists and it before the retaliatory eviction one year ago could go without any minder.  But there was a delay, and be the time Inner City Press was escorted, the sponsors and attendees had already gone in. A pen that several interlocutors called absurd was established.

  Inside, a Moroccan "inter-ministerial delegate" talked about armed conflict in "the southern part of our country" - that would be Western Sahara. France along with Argentina announced a pledge. But the delay and restrictions made it impossible to pursue these or other questions. This is a pattern.

  Back on January 24, there was an event ironically about "propaganda." Here was the definition given, in this tweeted photo.

 While the event went on, Inner City Press under Gallach's 11-month old eviction order was required to leave before 7 - its UN pass stops working in UN turnstiles at that time.

  On January 17, for an event involving Gallach herself as a speaker, despite having been invited -- not by the UN -- and having its RSVP confirmed, Inner City Press was stopped by UN Security and not allowed to enter. Video here.

     In any event, with the UN pass that Gallach has reduced, Inner City Press cannot get through any turnstiles to work after 7 pm. Gallach herself appears in the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe (RIP) UN bribery case, at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20b, as having done no due diligence of Ng Lap Seng's buying of UN events and even its Slavery Memorial. Audit here.

   She and Ban Ki-moon, to punish and make more difficult coverage of their links to these cases, evicted Inner City Press and restrict it to this day, 11 months later. As to Ban, Inner City Press on January 17 appeared in a 19-minute interview about corruption and censorship on Seoul's TBS radio. On the lower profile, entirely unaccountable Gallach, we'll have more.

This is a litmus test of press (UN) freedom.

Gallach's censorship order of February 2016 prevented Inner City Press in December 2016, for the first time in years, from covering the UN budget process, including on human rights and Burundi, another of Ban Ki-moon's failures.

For years Inner City Press has been virtually alone in covering the late night Fifth (Budget) Committee session in which billions of dollars are carved up. But in 2016 for the first time, following Gallach's retaliatory eviction order and ghoulish restriction regime of minders and the putting off of pass, Inner City Press could not cover the budget.

   By seizing Inner City Press' long time office -- and awarding it to an Egypt state media Akhbar al Yom whose correspondents Sanaa Youssef rare comes to the UN and never asks questions -- Gallach and Ban have made so that Inner City Press cannot enter the UN after 7 pm. But that, of course, is when the budget process happens.

   In December 2016, for example, Burundi cut the funds for human rights observers and the UN mission the Security Council mandated but has yet to deploy. Inner City Press covers these, but was Banned from covering the process by Gallach. This is a cover up.

    Meanwhile Gallach is showing her true colors with article such as that “amateurs” killed journalism. Really? Energetic online media that actually covers UN corruption is a threat to deadbeat stenography or non-existent journalism like that of Akhbar al Yom's correspondent?

Gallach is the wrong person to have control of the UN Department of Public Information. She also did no due diligence on Macau based businessman Ng Lap Seng in the John Ashe case, and is responsible for the UN's Wonder Woman fiasco. She must go.


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