Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis



ICP on YouTube

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Obama Cites Netanyahu and Iran at WHCD, No Yemen or Freddie Gray

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 25 -- Amid the excess of the White House Correspondents Association dinner, there were not only protests of police brutality and the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and continued airstrikes by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, but massive hypocrisy in the corporate press corps.

  At the UN, which Inner City Press knows best, corporate wire services tried to get the investigative Press thrown out.  While their cohorts in Washington praised themselves for pushing for greater access, at the UN these same companies are sichophants to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who hasn't held a press conference in UN headquarters this year. Only the Free UN Coalition for Access has complained.

  Obama however was funny, saying he's so close with Joe Biden he can't get served pizza in Indiana, and comparing the Koch brothers to The Bachelor. He said Martin O'Malley is a nobody. His “anger translator” chided the media for over-covering Ebola, but only for two weeks.

  There was almost no foreign policy, other than a shot at Israel's Netanyahu, and a shout out to the Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran. What about the Zone 9 Bloggers imprisoned in US ally Ethiopia? What about US ally Saudi Arabia's continued airstrikes on Yemen? Yeah, the corporate media is really holding Washington accountable.

 Many organizations like to "launch" their reports at or in the United Nations, and so ask few questions about UN. This coming week the Committee to Protect Journalists will be in but not of the UN - it will unveil a report about press freedom in the clubhouse of an organization which has tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN.

 It's not that this hasn't been raised to CPJ. On February 14, 2013, Inner City Press asked CPJ about the UN Correspondents Association's board members trying to censor its reporting about Sri Lanka and trying to get its UN accreditation "reviewed."

 The CPJ response was no comment on the "internal dynamics of the UN's accreditation process," saying its focus is "international press freedom issues." Isn't censorship at the UN international?

  Now it gets worse - the above quoted Q&A was at least in the open UN Press Briefing Room. Now CPJ intends to take its report launch behind closed doors in clubhouse the UN gives UN, its UN Censorship Alliance, publicized only to those who pay UNCA money.

  The new Free UN Coalition for Access challenges all this - and CPJ's corporate and selective advocacy for only some journalism. It is a tuxedo approach such as on display in DC.

   Back on February 14, 2013 when CPJ came to the UN Press Briefing Room to “launch” its annual report on press freedom Inner City Press asked them, not for the first time, about the UN's own treatment of the full range of journalists, their right to access the UN and to due process if challenged. Video here, from Minute 29:12.

  As example, Inner City Press noted the UN limiting accreditation by geography and to those who abide by the “principles of the Organization,” and total lack of due process rules for journalists on complaints as those filed against Inner City Press in 2012 by Voice of America, Reuters' Louis Charbonneau and the “UN Correspondents Association” for which he spoke on Thursday. Video here, from Minute 12:04.

  Rob Mahoney of CJP, who had begun the press conference by saying “we look to the UN” on these issues, declined to comment on the "internal dynamics of the UN's accreditation process," saying he doesn't know enough about it since he focuses on "international press freedom issues." Video here, from Minute 30:40.

  But aren't unfair rules of the UN worldwide in denying access to journalists "international press freedom issues"? And how can you "look to the UN" to help if you don't first look AT the UN?

  While Charbonneau's UNCA in mid-2012 initiated a process against Inner City Press citing an article it wrote about Sri Lanka (and UNCA, see here), Inner City Press received death threats from supporters of the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka.

  Inner City Press asked UNCA to stop or at least suspend its process; this was refused, including by Charbonneau, who told Inner City Press to “go to the NYPD.”

Remembering CPJ's Bob Dietz' focus on Sri Lanka, Inner City Press wrote to him and CPJ's Joel Simon. The response came from CPJ's Americas Research Associate Sara Rafsky:

Thank you very much for alerting us about your situation. At the moment, the Americas program is swamped with urgent cases... Thus it will most likely be some time before I can look into your case.”

  These was no follow up by CPJ. The New York Civil Liberties a month later, citing the complaint against Inner City Press, asked the UN to state its due process rules, which the UN has yet to do.

   The  Free UN Coalition for Access, on behalf of which Inner City Press thanked Mahoney and his largely silent panel for coming, is pursuing changes to the UN's archaic and exclusionary accreditation rules and Media Access Guidelines.

   UNCA's, and Charbonneau's, response was to tear down flyers on the topic. Atop UNCA again is Giampaolo Pioli the past president who, after renting one of his apartments to Palitha Kohona, later granted Kohona's request as Sri Lanka's ambassador to screen that government's war crimes denial film "Lies Agreed To" inside the UN, under the UNCA banner. Inner City Press reported on it, was told to remove the article from the Internet or face expulsion from the UN. That is censorship, and CPJ was informed: but partners with UNCA. This is not press freedom.

   Then on February 12, 2014  when CPJ its "Attacks on the Press" report online, under the heading Africa there were pages on Tanzania and Swaziland, for example, but none on South Sudan or Mali.

  CPJ's Joel Simon began the February 12, 2014 "launch" press conference by explaining why it was held at the United Nations (he cited countries trying to use the UN to control the Internet). Inner City Press when called on asked if CPJ thinks the UN Peacekeeping missions in South Sudan and Mali do enough to combat crackdowns on the press there, for example the Salva Kiir government seizing a complete issue of the Juba Monitor, and theats against MaliActu.. 

 Now we wonder, including on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, what CPJ thinks of the UN bureau chief of Reuters, with essentially a permanent seat on UNCA board, mis-using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to get Google to block access to a leaked anti-Press complaint to the UN from its search. Isn't that censorship?

CPJ & Reuters current and former, Feb 14, 2013 (c) MRLee

   The problem here is that groups like CPJ like to use the UN to “launch” their reports. Mahoney joked with two separate Reuters reporters: click here, here and here for three (of many) documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reflecting Reuters and the UN.

Reuter's Charbonneau shakes with Ban: on what? (c) Luiz Rampelloto

  CPJ or at least Mahoney seem to assume that Big Media like Reuters (and Agence France Presse, click here) can do no wrong. But that is not the case.

Footnote: Mahoney to his credit put forth a definition of journalism far broader than the one pushed -- anonymously -- by UNCA "leaders" in a counterfeit social media account they established, which refers repeatedly to "non-media activists" as those who question UNCA's acts, including through the Free UN Coalition for Access. Most recently, they send / copy the counterfeit messages to countries' mission to the UN.

 So in terms of vetting and advocacy at and about the UN, would CPJ do better? Definitely. Will it? Watch this site.

Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-253, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2012 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]