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UN of Guterres Seized Inner City Press Cameras Depriving Access 107 Days Censoring With Banned List

By Matthew Russell Lee, Audio, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 – The UN maintains a secret list of people banned from entering its premises. Inner City Press, after being roughed up by UN Security while covering the UN Budget Committee on 3 July 2018 has been put on the list, apparently not by Security but rather the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Smale. Relatedly, Smale's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) seized Inner City Press' journalistic equipment including its cameras. Inner City Press has repeatedly asked to be permitted to enter, under escort if demanded, and at least recoup its cameras. But Smale's MALU has without explanation refused, and as of noon on October 18 -- 107 days after seizing the cameras -- could not explain where they are, nor why it never responded in any way to Inner City Press' application in early September to cover UN General Assembly high level week. Nor has Smale's MALU run by Tal Mekel answered these Press questions: "I had asked that I simply be allowed in, escorted if necessary, to get them. Since even this was denied, I am asking you now: What is this banned-from-the-UN or “current and active barred notice” list? How can you Department of Public Information, beyond withdrawing media accreditation in order to censor, also bar the journalist as a person from entering the UN? I was barred from CPJ's and Reuters' press freedom event, and from a UNODC film screen even though accompanied by the head of UNODC's office. What is this list? How many people are on it? Is anyone else given notice? (I wasn't). What is the appeals process? How many people has MALU put on it?" MALU, and Guterres' spokesmen despite Smale's claim the UN answers Press questions, have not answered. The UN has gone rogue. When Inner City Press exposed the existence of Guterres' banned list, with audio and video, Google's YouTube immediately declared the video "not suitable for most advertisers." Which ones would it not be suitable for? Inner City Press appealed and on October 18 the YouTube Team replied, After manually reviewing 2 of your videos, we’ve determined that they are suitable for all advertisers:

"UN Has Secret List of People Banned Guterres Puts Inner City Press On With Demonstrators No Review"
"UNSG Guterres Leaves $15M Mansion for 6 Days Including Bali, Filmed by Banned Inner City Press"

By contrast, the UN does not allow any appeal after - or hearing before - banning a media from the UN. That has been raised to, among others, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which allowed Guterres' UN to bar Inner City Press from their Reuters events in the UN, and will again today October 18. CPJ's Joel Simon and Robert Mahoney have been informed throughout, have done nothing about it. Nor to our knowledge about such demonetization: it seems they represent corporate, even state, media. We'll have more on this Guterres ban list:

Even the Security officers who enforce the ban are not told the reason why a person is on the list: whether it was for actual violence, or writing articles questioning the Secretary General Antonio Guterres' misuse of public funds, for example. One told Inner City Press the secret list includes "demonstrators" and "political activists," audio here.

  Guterres or apparently his head of Global Communications Alison Smale, if only as a proxy, can put a journalist on the list without any review, any notice, any appeal. It is a dictator's dream come true.

   Inner City Press was physically ousted twice by Guterres' UN Security this summer as it reported on his now-15 flights to his home in Lisbon with public funds, his trading away of Cameroon human rights abuses for favors in the Budget Committee, and now his son Pedro's undisclosed business links in Africa. Smale on August 17, without once speaking to me covering the UN for Inner City Press for 11 years, withdrew my media accreditation.

  But it's gone further than that. For example, on October 11 I showed up for a film screening about sex trafficking, “Love Sonia,” to which I had been invited by the UN Office of Drugs and Crimes. UNODC's New York director personally put me on the list for a post screening reception and came and met me and took me to the UN gate to sign me in, since my ticket - which she said she'd seen - mysteriously disappeared.

  UN Security refused to allow the NY director of UNODC to sign me in. “Even if he had a ticket we'd have to check,” one officer said. I was told that a supervisor would come out, and that UNODC would speak to them. But after one hour it never happened. Guterres' chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti left the building and I audibly told her, I'm invited but I'm being blocked. She did not even break stride.

  The UN has given me nothing in writing that I am banned. Guterres' spokesman has stated it as a fact, without explanation or rationale, on October 9 and 11, while refusing to answer my e-mailed questions despite Smale's promise they would be answered to supposedly respect my "journalistic endeavours."

   Another UN Security officer told me, No one is going to help you. You are on the list. I asked him, who else is on the list? He mentioned “demonstrators” and "political activists" and others. Audio here.

  Tellingly, NOT on Guterres' banned list are those who pleaded guilty to UN bribery for example in the Ng Lap Seng - John Ashe case. They are not banned by Guterres, UNlike the journalist who most closely covered those convictions, and the current UN bribery case of Patrick Ho and the China Energy Fund Committee. Guterres is fine with bribery, but bans those who investigate and expose it.

UNSG Guterres thinks he can ban people without no notice, no due process, no review? And that it won't be noticed or reviewed? Watch this site.


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