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UNSC Congo Trip, 1st Reported by ICP, Seeks Scribes Only Through UNCA, Scam

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18, updated -- For the UN Security Council's October trip to Africa's Great Lakes region, on which Inner City Press exclusively reported one week ago, some have been asked if they would like to go along as scribes.

  How was the request made, and to whom? Unlike in the past, it was NOT sent to all UN accredited correspondents, or even just resident correspondents with desk space in the UN.

  No, the offer was made only through what's called the UN Correspondents Association. This entity's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS in turn only sent the information to those who pay money.

Beyond the money, Inner City Press quit UNCA in December 2012 after documenting that several UNCA Executive Committee members tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  UNCA's first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters even spied for the UN, providing an anti-Press internal UNCA document to the UN's top accreditation official three minutes after he promised not to. Story here, audio here, document here.

  UNCA Executive Committee member Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse filed a complaint with the UN leading with the way in which Inner City Press posed a question to Herve Ladsous, who before heading UN Peacekeeping served as France's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN during the Rwanda genocide, arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into the Eastern Congo.

  In this context, how the information about press space to cover the Security Council's trip to the region be given out only through UNCA? Journalists are told they don't have to join UNCA, and in fact fewer than 10% of the journalists accredited to cover the UN General Assembly are UNCA members.

  This means of distribution of information is illegitimate, and after protest by the new Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info was eliminated with regard to twenty passes to cover the UN conference room area next week.

  So why is trip information, to an area as ideologically charged as the Great Lakes, distributed this limited and illegitimate way? Apparently, BECAUSE it is ideologically charged. But FUNCA is protesting it. Watch this site.

Update: One hour after publication of the above, and after inquiry with and request for explanation from Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson, the information was sent out to the full list, not just the UNCA sub-set. But still: no explanation. Watch this site.


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