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With UN in Decay, It Focuses on Trying to Ban Dissent, Create 1-Party System for UN Censorship Alliance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- The UN is in decay, poised to accept a listed child soldier recruiter as a troop contributing country in Mali, working with mass rapist Army units in the Congo.

  In UN headquarters, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's is trying to make it more difficult to cover these issues -- it is banning the press and public from the General Assembly; it has said the media can't work or write with any continuity in front of the Security Council.

And when the new Free UN Coalition for Access protests both of these reductions in access, the reaction of the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison unit has been to try to order the take-down of any sign of the Free UN Coalition for Access.

 MALU and some in DPI are seeking to maintain a one-party system for UNCA -- now, the UN Censorship Alliance -- which has not protested these reductions. In fact, UNCA lobbied for and signed on to rules banning the press and media workspace from the Security Council, and trying to outlaw any sign but its own.

  Here's what the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit sent to Inner City Press at 6 pm on Friday, June 14: Dear Matthew, Following our conversation today, the posting of notices policy does apply to the FUNCA sign... I am afraid you will have to take the sign down."

  Then, after Inner City Press spent hours raising the issue higher in the Department of Public Information and it was indicated that it was solved, and that there would be some response on the other issues raised: access to the General Assembly and even simple compliance with MALU's commitment to put the promised phones in the focus rooms.

  Nevertheless on the morning of Monday, June 17 while Inner City Press was trying to cover the Security Council's meeting on Children and Armed Conflict -- without a table to type on, electrical outlet too plug into or even functioning wi-fi -- MALU returned with this:

"We are trying to apply the posting of signs policy to all... UNCA has its sign outside the space that has been assigned to that organization."

Why the UN gives a big space for private meetings by a group that tries to get other media thrown out of the UN is another question. But here is the rule, recently promulgated by DPI and by UNCA, including its 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS and first vice president Louis Charbonneau of Reuters:

"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."

UNCA is not a media organization -- far from it. Watch this site.

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