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UN Complains ICP Quoted UN Censorship Alliance, Reforms Not Shown

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 – The way some in the UN try to use their UN Censorship Alliance was made clear Wednesday evening.

  Mid-level Department of Public Information staffer Stephane Dujarric, who previously accepted or even encouraged dis-accreditation requests without providing any notice or opportunity to be heard, complained to Inner City Press about an article it wrote.

  Of course it would be improper for the UN official in charge of accrediting the media to complain about the substance of an article. So Dujarric complained about HOW it was reported: with direct quotes and audio to substantiate them.

Click here where Inner City Press says "you're on the record" and Pamela Falk of CBS, UNCA's President, says "he's going to write this up." Yes. But the letter of the UN's Dujarric, who was there, pretends this was never said.

  It concerned a February 22 meeting to which DPI invited Inner City Press, as a co-founder of the Free UN Coalition for Access. The invitation, sent only the night before, did not say the meeting would be off the record. And at the meeting, Inner City Press repeatedly said, yes this is on the record.

   Another invitee, Pamela Falk of CBS who is the president of the UN Correspondents Association (now also known as the UN Censorship Alliance), even said, he's going to report this, several times. She was right. And at no point in the meeting did she or anybody else try to put it off the record. And since she claimed that she was previously misquoted, she herself brought on the need for audio to accompany the story and confirm her quotes.

Since Falk during the meeting -- at which she called Inner City Press “a mugger” and tried to say that writing to media organizations about their policies “might be a crime” -- characterized the use of her name as part of a question in the UN noon briefing of February 21 as “slander,” Inner City Press in its first report did not use her name.

Inner City Press waited from February 22 to the afternoon of February 25 before publishing the story.

  In the interim, just as Falk urged in a February 15 annual UNCA meeting on which Inner City Press also reported, an UNCA Executive Committee member plopped down in the UNCA branded front row seat at the February 25 noon briefing and demanded and got the first question.

That is precisely what Inner City Press for FUNCA, on February 21 and at the February 22 meeting with DPI, said it would oppose, each and every time.

Still, Inner City Press went out of its way not to include Falk's name, nor that of her first vice president, Louis Charbonneau of Reuters. Charbonneau during the meeting, as he did repeatedly in 2012, said that Inner City Press' website is “the problem.” It is not for Reuters to try to dictate content to anyone else. But Dujarric at the February 22 meeting did not say anything about this.

   It appears, while the head of DPI is out of the country in Vienna, that Dujarric is trying to use Inner City Press' February 25 report as a rationale for not doing anything for example about the ten needed reforms FUNCA submitted on February 10.

  But Inner City Press stands entirely behind the story, ironically just as Dujarric's ultimate boss Ban Ki-moon stood behind his answer to Inner City Press that his staff opponents are “selfish,”

  Inner City Press has responded asking Dujarric if his formal letter is meant to go into some dis-accreditation file, and to state once and for all his knowledge and / or presence at meeting with UNCA in 2012 seeking to dis-accredit Inner City Press:

I have just received your letter and must reply. I said repeatedly at the meeting that it was on the record.

FUNCA did not ask for the meeting. As I said, while FUNCA's co-founder suggested we should not attend, I did so as a courtesy to Peter.

However at the meeting, to which DPI invited me, you allowed Pam Falk of UNCA to scream and call me a mugger, and say “you call yourself a journalist” -- and you said nothing.

Louis Charbonneau of UNCA (and Reuters) said that the problem is the Inner City Press website. This is inappropriate, given freedom of the press. But you said nothing.

If you will notice -- and only as a courtesy to Peter -- the article you cite did not at that time use the names of the two UNCA representatives you invited, nor describe the venue.

  Please state whether your formal letter about an article I wrote, sent to me after 6 pm as I write about the Mali stakeout and brown bag session an answer promised at which has not yet been provided, is intended to be placed in some file, regarding discipline or accreditation, and what my due process rights are.

Given that you yourself have told me you do not object to being quoted, and that FUNCA sessions with DPI were on the record and recorded, and that at the February 15 meeting I said repeatedly that it was on the record, I find your letter inappropriate.

  I reiterate my question: the description in the Voice of America document I cited

which says UNCA met with the UN "very quietly" in the middle of 2012 about dis-accreditation -- please state who was at the meeting(s) from the UN (and UNCA) sides.  Due process rules are absolutely needed. I will appreciate your soonest response.

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