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UN's False Accusation of Press for Censorship Alliance UNcorrected 1 Week

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 -- Showing the need for UN due process rules for journalists, it was one full week ago that UN media accreditation boss Stephane Dujarric sent Inner City Press a demonstrably false complaint, intended to hinder both reporting and reform of UN rules.

  Dujarric's complaint or threat letter said that some undefined “we” felt “deeply disappointed” in a story published by Inner City Press including audio in which Pamela Falk, the president of the UN Correspondents Association screamed at Inner City Press that writing to media companies about their policies “might be a crime” and not to publish her name.

  Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, in the on the record session, told Inner City Press “the fundamental problem is your website.” (Ironically, ThomsonReuters was promoting itself Wednesday morning on the web as “one of the world's most ethical companies,” we are awaiting reply.)

  Reuters' Charbonneau is first vice president of UNCA, increasingly known as the UN's censorship alliance.

  The session and audio included Inner City Press stating “you are on the record,” and Falk replying, “he's going to write this one up.”  Click here for audio.

But Dujarric's letter claimed that “it was clearly understood by all sides that there would be no reporting and recording of the meeting.”

  Inner City Press immediately replied to Dujarric, one week ago, showing this to be false. Another attendee, with whom Dujarric seemingly attempted to play “divide and conquer,” wrote the same, that Inner City Press had made it clear the meeting was on the record and was being recorded.

Recording, and publishing, audio was essential since Falk shouted that everything -- everything! -- published about her was 100% false, including openly taped but not published quotes that she and “anyone” from UNCA would always demand the first question in UN noon briefings.

  But Dujarric made no response or retraction: nothing. Another Department of Public Information official told Inner City Press that Dujarric's letter was “not innocent” but represented an attempt to “build a case” to throw Inner City Press out of the UN.

As reflected by documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, UNCA tried to do just that with Dujarric in mid-2012, and Dujarric's response was “thanks, I'll call you” -- while never informing Inner City Press of the formal request by Voice of America that its UN accreditation be reviewed.

   Now Dujarric's false complaint followed by silence only make it more clear that the UN must adopt due process rules for journalists, as was requested by the New York Civil Liberties Union in a July 5, 2012 letter to the chief of DPI.

   Not only does DPI not have due process rules for when an outside big media company files a complaint against a smaller, more investigative competitor -- the UN has no rules for when its own officials falsely accuse a journalist.

Where is DPI on this? Where is the UN on this?

  Yesterday Inner City Press did not publish any more of the audio from the on the record meeting, as an experiment. Still, no retraction, amplification or explanation by Dujarric. Others in DPI now try to convert his complaint into one of “surprise” that audio was published. But his complaint says, falsely, that “it was clearly understood by all sides that there would be no reporting and recording of the meeting.”

   Not only was and is that NOT “clear” -- it is false. It is proved false by the audio itself.

   There are places on Earth where authorities formally accuse journalists, without any regard for the truth of the accusations. Is this true of the UN as well? Watch this site.

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