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UN Raided ICP After Demanding Positive Coverage of Ban in Haiti, Congo, Lanka

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- From the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon talks about the rule of law. He issues statements about freedom of the press, the rights of opposition parties, political pluralism.

  Inside the UN, it's a different matter. On March 18, UN officials conducted a raid, without notice or consent, on the office of Inner City Press, going through papers and taking photographs. The president of the UN's Censorship Alliance, previously known as the UN Correspondents Association, Pamela Falk of CBS took photographs too. Video here.

Perhaps this is “self-regulation of the press” -- you get some big media which invariably makes Ban look good in exchange for access to go after smaller, investigative media.

This is the pattern in Ban's UN, which did not take place under his predecessor Kofi Annan. In just the last year, the UN's Censorship Alliance held a kangaroo court proceeding against Inner City Press involving articles that it wrote, about Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, about Sri Lanka, war crimes and UNCA conflicts of interest.

When the proceeding gave rise to death threats to Inner City Press from extremist supporters of Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government, UNCA said it wasn't its problem, and Ban's UN did nothing. The message seemed to be: stop writing about it.

(Inner City Press hasn't stopped: it has for example covered Ladsous' inaction on 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, the UN's partners; the UN's lawless dismissal of claims it brought cholera to Haiti, which has killed over 5000 people, and Ban's deteriorating relations with UN staff after he answered Inner City Press' question by calling his staff opponents “selfish.”)

After UNCA went to far as to then “meet with UN officials (very quietly)” asking them to throw Inner City Press out of the UN, then submitted a formal request for the “review” of Inner City Press' accreditation from Voice of America, which said it had the support of Reuters and Agence France Presse, Inner City Press was summoned to a talk with two UN Department of Public Information officials.

At that meeting prior to, and apparently as a condition of, a shorter than normal extension of accreditation, Inner City Press was told to write more positively about Ban Ki-moon and about Ladsous. The UN didn't think there was anything wrong with this, explicitly tying access to the building to more positive reporting on Ban and his deadwood peacekeeping chief.

By late 2012, Inner City Press co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, to defend journalists at and from the UN, to push DPI for due process rules and even a UN Freedom of Information Act.

FUNCA's flyers were torn down, UNCA leaders started at least four anonymous social media accounts to try to undermine Inner City Press to countries missions to the UN and to discourage joining FUNCA.

Monday's raid on Inner City Press' office, seen by the “resident” UN press corps -- and as noted, ghoulishly photographed by UNCA -- should be seen in this light. Either, join FUNCA and your office will be raided, and/or writing critically about Ban Ki-moon, Ladsous and the UN and your office will be raided. And what next? Watch this site.

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