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BuzzFeed Covers UN Raid on Inner City Press While CBS Took Pictures

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- Four days after the UN raided Inner City Press' office, went through papers and took photographs, BuzzFeed has covered the story.

  Tellingly, in terms of the old / big media resident correspondents at the UN who witnessed the raid but neither protested nor saw it as newsworthy, it is new media not in the UN's aura which ran this first outside coverage.

  While reporters from among others Al Jazeera and Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse walked right by as the raid took place, one stopped and took photographs: Pamela Falk of CBS News.

  Why did she take, and presumptively give to BuzzFeed, photographs from inside Inner City Press' office? She is the president of the UN Correspondents Association, which in 2012 tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  If Falk, who Inner City Press witnessed taking pictures, is not the one who gave them to BuzzFeed, then the photos were taken by the UN and given to the anonymous “Concerned UN Reporter” who did.

  This too, would be improper: it would mean that the UN, while claiming they only did the search and photo session because of safety, had turned around and given the photos to UNCA, which has sought to have Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, as evidenced by documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Voice of America.

  The BuzzFeed article mentions VOA's request. We further note that the FOIA documents show VOA saying that Reuters and AFP supported the request, and the UNCA was “speaking with UN officials (very quietly)” about throwing out Inner City Press, before VOA's Steve Redisch made a formal request to the UN's Stephane Dujarric on June 20, 2012.

  Twenty minutes after BuzzFeed's article went online, Dujarric e-mailed Inner City Press to say:

Matthew, You've written in ICP a number of times that the UN demands that Inner City Press 'remove the images and the YouTube video as a first step to addressing this matter.' From our end, we are not aware of any official that has asked for the removal of the video. DPI, nor anyone else that we know of, is asking for the removal of the video.”

  Inner City Press has twice written back to Dujarric with the name and phone numbers of the UN official who, on March 19, the morning after the raid, made the quoted request.

   Inner City Press has also twice now asked Dujarric why he or the UN would not answer if Inner City Press will remain accredited, and to state the UN's knowledge of how photographs taken during the non-consensual search of Inner City Press' office came into the possession of “Concerned UN Reporter.”

  As we've exposed, UNCA leaders have this year established at least four anonymous social media accounts to try to undermine Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access by, among other things, implying Inner City Press is funded by terrorists, Sri Lankan Tamil separatists, and by telling a country's UN Mission that Inner City Press sought contribution to investigate that mission.

  Both are false, and for big media reporters to do this anonymously to a smaller competitor probably does not comport with their companies' policies.

  But UNCA's Pam Falk, at a February 22 on the record meeting with Dujarric present, told Inner City Press that her lawyers opine that writing to these media about their policies “might constitute a crime.”

 (At the same meeting, UNCA first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters told Inner City Press "the fundamental problem is your website" and refused to answer questions about UN meeting with UN officials "very quietly" to get Inner City Press thrown out, click here for audio.)

  The BuzzFeed story summarizes that Inner City Press wrote to these media about the theft of quotes from a public press conference.

  But the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous, after Inner City Press repeatedly asked Ladsous about more than 100 rapes by the Congolese Army, held a PRIVATE briefing for AFP, Reuters and others - and did not inform Inner City Press, which had asked that questions.

  And no, it is not a crime to conclude and state “lap dog” -- here, it was and is true.

  Inner City Press also wrote to the big media bosses of UNCA Executive Committee members after it received death threats from extremist supporters of Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government, threats which cite a proceeding UNCA had begun against Inner City Press. Amazingly, that process did not stop, despite the death threats it engendered. That's what UNCA has become.

  And that's why news can take place right in front of these UN scribes and they don't cover it. So be it: it is a new time, a new season. Watch this site.

Footnote: One reason for the office's condition on March 18, since cleaned, is that Inner City Press for a time rarely went there because of how unpleasant the UNCA leaders have made it, for example scrawling graffiti on FUNCA flyers on Inner City Press' office door.

  But it would have been easy for the UN to contact Inner City Press, to enter the office or before searching it, by e-mail or cell phone, or visiting the UN Security Council stakeout, two minute away.

  Instead, they went in without notice and took photographs, which ended up on BuzzFeed. We're not particularly proud of a messy office, but frankly that's not the issue here.

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