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UN Won't Explain Its Rules, Reuters Ascribes Fear to Unnamed Diplomats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 2 – When the UN falsely accuses an investigative journalist of using quotes, from a session the journalist said openly and loudly was “on the record,” what should happen?

  One might expect the UN official who sent the false allegation in writing, and was immediately asked for an explanation including of the purpose of the letter and the procedures for rebutting and striking it, to explain.

  But in this case the sender, the boss of UN Media Accreditation Stephane Dujarric, has not responded in more than two days.

  The UN maintains and favors a so-called United Nations Correspondents Association, all the way back to the time of the League of Nations, which it claims represents and even defends the interests of journalists.

  But in this case, the apparently embarrassing quotes the UN's Dujarric was complaining were used were from UNCA President Pamela Falk of CBS (who yelled that Inner City Press is a “mugger” and bellowed, “you call yourself a journalist”) and UNCA First Vice President Louis Charbonneau of Reuters.

Click here for audio where Inner City Press tells them “you are on the record.”

  UNCA is the source of the attack on lawful reporting, not the solution. This was the case in 2012 as well, when as reflected by documents obtained from Voice of America under the US Freedom of Information Act UNCA met with the UN “very quietly” to move to get Inner City Press thrown out.

  Inner City Press has asked Dujarric several times, including in response to his false February 27 letter, to describe his knowledge and role in the referenced meeting with UNCA -- without response.

  At the reported-on February 22 meeting, Inner City Press yet again directly asked Charbonneau to describe his knowledge of and role in the meetings with the UN to get Inner City Press thrown out. Charbonneau refused to answer.

   Instead, Charbonneau along with saying to Inner City Press “the fundamental problem is your website” also told Dujarric and others present that unnamed diplomats asked him, given Inner City Press' reporting, if he is not concerned for his “personal safety.” Audio here.

  Inner City Press immediately assured Charbonneau that he had absolutely no basis for concern, if his concern / complaint to Dujarric was genuine -- a big if.

  Since seeing the VOA documents showing that Reuters among other things was moving toward the same route of throwing Inner City Press out of the UN, Inner City Press has not spoken with Charbonneau for six months.

  By contrast to Charbonneau's unnamed diplomats -- one wonders which of the two Security Council spokespeople who follow the UNCA leaders' counterfeit social media account it might be -- Inner City Press recounted the use of another of the UNCA leaders' anonymous social media accounts to malign Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access to a specific Security Council mission's spokesperson.

  Inner City Press said the name of the mission, then added that the name would continue to go unreported, to protect a woman who while there alleged past sexual harassment (and was mocked by UNCA leaders then, and later in a flyer they posted on Inner City Press' UN cubicle door).

  Apparently Dujarric -- and / or UNCA -- latched onto this one segment being without name to try to claim that nothing from the meeting should be quoted.

   It's ludicrous and could easily have been disproved had Dujarric simply asked, for example at the “brown bag lunch” session he and Inner City Press both attended, hours before he sent his complaint letter.

  But Dujarric said nothing.

  Now others in the UN say that the letter “is not innocent” and Dujarric's goal is to “build a case” against Inner City Press. There has been no retraction or amplification, not even any response.

  This shows ever more clearly the need for rules of due process for journalists at the UN, as the New York Civil Liberties Union asked the UN Department of Public Information about in mid-2012, referring to Voice of America's request to Dujarric to “review” Inner City Press' accreditation, which Dujarric thanked VOA for but never told Inner City Press about.

  When we he going to tell Inner City Press? In the absence of any written answer or rules, we can only reply on the oral answer given, yes, on the record.

  That answer was that only AFTER dis-accredition and ouster from the UN would the underlying complaint be shown. That is a travesty, as is the February 27 letter and failure for two days and counting to explain, amplify and rescind it. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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