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Host of UN Gabfest on #FreeAJstaff Ignored Deaths & Attacks on Journalists

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- While Egypt's sentencing of the three Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison received deserved condemnation on June 25 in the UN, double standards and hypocrisy were on display at the UN Censorship Alliance, UNCA.

   This group, headed by CBS News Pam Falk's with a vice president from Turkish state media and others from Reuters and Gulf media -- Gulf and Western, they're called -- not only were silent but caused anti Press death threats from Sri Lanka extremists.

  This year they said nothing as journalists were killed in Eastern Ukraine. Even when one of their own members, from Lebanon, was told by French ambassador Gerard Araud, "You are not a journalist, you are an agent," they did nothing.

   After the first of these incidents, two elected members of UNCA's Executive Committee quit and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, which has asked the UN to admonish Araud and the French Mission (request denied by UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric), and has defended journalists in far-flung Somaliland and Burundi.

  CJP spoke on June 25, calling Eypt the biggest jailer of journalists in the Arab World. CPJ should have noted as well its own research, that for example Turkey had 40 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2013.

  A Reuters scribe on UNCA board (mis) reported, with no disclosure, that the all Jazeera three were "jailed" this week. They've been in jail for some time.

 The Reuters bureau chief and puppetmaster has himself engaged in censorship, getting Google to ban from its Search his "for the record" complaint trying to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN, here. This is the UN's Censorship Alliance.

   In the UN Press Briefing Room on April 15, 2014, outgoing French Ambassador Gerard Araud told a Lebanese reporter, "You are not a journalist, you are an agent" -- Egypt's logic.

  But on June 25, there were at least two representatives of France's mission to the UN headed to a #FreeAJstaff "town hall."
  At the June 25 UN noon briefing, citing not only the three from Al Jazeera but other journalists sentenced in Egypt, including a Coptic journalist sentenced in Minya to five years, another to three years in Suez, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban has even ASKED to meet al-Sisi when both are in Malabo for the African Union summit.

   Dujarric did not say yes. Video here.

   Back in April, Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric if he would convey to Araud and the French mission the stated position that reporters should be treated with respect. Dujarric declined.
   The old United Nations Correspondents Association has "dragged its feet" on any defense of its own dues paying member from Lebanon. But now it scheduled an "Emergency Town Hall meeting" on the Al Jazeera case.

  In fact, UNCA executive committee members have tried to get reporting they didn't like removed from the Internet, about a financial link between Sri Lanka's ambassador and UNCA's head and the latter unilaterally holding an "UNCA" screening of a Rajapaksa government film denying war crimes.

  When censorship failed, UNCA executive committee members tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN - one of them later made a Digital Millennium Copyright Act sworn statement to Google that his "for the record" complaint was copyrighted - and got it banned from search: censorship.

  Now this UN Censorship Alliance schedules an "Emergency Town Hall meeting" on the Al Jazeera case. Watch this site.


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