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Rules Banning Press & Free Speech Finalized by UN & Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 12 -- The UN on Wednesday morning issued a final Media Access Guideline, with its partner the UN Correspondents' Association, which purports to ban journalists from working at the Security Council stakeout, including having any table to type on, and which attempts to ban free speech for any organization except UNCA.

   It's the work of the UN and its Censorship Alliance.

  Despite extensive comments and alternatives submitted by the new Free UN Coalition for Access to the top officials of the UN Department of Public Information, the "final" rules state for example that the Security Council stakeout "including the Turkish Lounge, may not be used as a permanent workspace for the media."

  Before the Security Council moved during the Capital Master Plan renovation, and during the relocation, there was a media worktable on which reporters could use laptops while putting questions to diplomats and UN officials as they entered and left the Council.

  This rule, not only agreed to by the UNCA Executive Committee but pushed for by several of its big media members -- more on these anon -- Bans the table that was in place and in use, well, before Ban Ki-moon.

   It attempts to Ban new media coverage of the Security Council: short pieces written while remaining at the stakeout to speak with diplomats on a range of topics. Who is against that? Some are.

The rule explicitly seeks to favor UNCA and create, in essence, a one-party system. It states:

"Bulletin boards have been provided by DPI to the media for the posting of notices. All notices should be posted only on those bulletin boards. Signs posted on doors are limited to entry restrictions for example, 'do not disturb' or 'on air.' DPI will provide a name-plate for each accredited media organization."

  But the UN gives UNCA, its partner in censorship, a big office on which it has an "UNCA" sign on the door, and over the door, and a large glassed-in bulletin board -- on which in 2012 it posted for five months a letter denouncing a co-founder of FUNCA. This new anti free speech rule is a new low. More on it to follow.

  On June 11, UNCA held an apparently private briefing -- it did not inform resident correspondents who have chosen not be be members of UNCA about it.

Why does the UN give UNCA a big space, set it up as a one party system?

  Because the UNCA Executive Committee, dominated by among others Reuters and Agence France Presse -- which used it to defend the fourth French head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous --agrees to, even lobbies for, reductions in press access, and even lobbies, to UN and non UN e-mail addresses of the official behind these rules, to get Press thrown out of the UN.

  But when the UN eliminates all seat for the press and public at the General Assembly Hall in the North Lawn building, UN DPI dissembles that it is not a reduction, and its Censorship Alliance UNCA is silent. FUNCA raised it, and will be raising all of this.

UN Censorship Alliance, UN in decline. Watch this site.

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