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Will Ban Blithely Bless UN Censorship Alliance, Despite Pro-Sri Lanka Trolling?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 30 -- Each December like clockwork UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had read out canned remarks praising the leadership of the United Nations Correspondents Association.

   But what makes this year different?

   For one, it is public record that UNCA leaders tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN. The documents emerged from a Freedom of Information Act request to Voice of America, a US government agency. FOIA inquiries continue.

   Voice of America asked the UN to "review" Inner City Press' UN accreditation; it said it had the support of Agence France Presse (which came to the defense of Ban's or France's head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous), Bloomberg and Reuters, which also said it would sue Inner City Press.

  This all started when Inner City Press reported on war crimes in Sri Lanka, and UNCA's president screening a genocide denial film for the ambassador he had accepted rent money from. Ban's record on Sri Lanka has been, according to the UN's own report, a "failure." (In fairness, click here for his "Rights Up Front" plan.) So UNCA became the UN Censorship Alliance.

   To defend the right of all journalists to report on issues like the UN's inaction in Sri Lanka, the Free UN Coalition for Access was formed. Another difference is it like Inner City Press is on the record, not anonymous trolling like UNCA "leaders" have in 2013.

  In 2013 under Pamela Falk of CBS, the UNCA "leaders" have gone stealth, starting counterfeit FUNCA and Inner City Press accounts on Twitter, and posting anonymous comment for example on the site of the UK New Statesman.

  Falk and her outgoing first vice president Lou Charbonneau of Reuters were on notice, and in at least one of the two cases actively involved, in the trolling back in February 2013: on the record audio here, and here, and here (Reuters, saying "the problem is your website" - Censorship Alliance.) The UNCA trolls were back at it on November 27, the day before US Thanksgiving.

  Should the UN be using and partnering, exclusively, with a group like this one has become? What does it say about this UN's commitment to freedom of the press?

    So what does Ban say, then, on December 4 when returning from UNIDO in Peru he is scheduled to prop up the UNCA trolls' legitimacy by speaking at an event in the clubhouse he gave them on the UN's third floor, in which UNCA in July held a faux "UN briefing" with Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel Ahmad al Jarba, who Ban also met in his UN-provided residence in September?

  Four pm, coupe de champagne? Why not? And who cares if the Security Council is meeting about carnage in a former French colonies, as it was last Monday on Central African Republic when UNCA scheduled a competing event?

  This time, France might in deference solicitously cancel any briefing about the carnage. They took all of August off. What's two hours in the afternoon for champagne with the censors?

  What can be said about those follow-overs like Falk, and even more of wannabe UNCA-ites for 2014, with this censorship and trolling public record? There will be faux elections, and then Ban is to speak again for $250 a plate at Cipriani's on 42nd Street. Is this the UN, with a Censorship Alliance? Watch this site.


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