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Ban Ki-moon Gets EU Photo Ops from His Scribes & Censors, Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 4 -- Is it supposed to be the function of journalists who ostensibly cover an institution to provide photo-ops for the head of the institution?

  That's what's happening at the UN, where a group called the UN Correspondents Association promoted Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's appearance at their soccer game with ambassadors they also purport to cover. Footage of the football appeared without analysis or critique on France 24 and now ANSA, the Italian service.

  While Ban did a mere ceremonial kick-off, UNCA pushed out pictures of it -- as it props up that they are close to the UN -- and predictably the UN's own UN News Centre and UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric and even the UN's main twitter account did the same.

  And so on July 3, France 24 showed video, even as Dujarric continued dodging on the UN flying around the leader of the sanctioned FDLR militia.

  Then Italian ANSA showed it, amid bragging the Ban's deputy Eliasson will go to Italy.

  It's one thing for a country like Italy to brag of its connections with the UN. But for supposed journalists to be so craven? Particularly when Ban has reneged on previous commitments to hold monthly on the record press conference, replacing these with “press encounters” of which the press is not told until afterward, and even interviews with LinkedIn - is this appropriate?

  It is symbiosis: the scribes want to be seen as having access, and in this case the group UNCA which has a documented (by FOIA) history of trying to get investigative media thrown out of the UN, doing nothing when the News Agency of Nigeria was evicted from the UN due to a lack of space when the UN gives UNCA a big room that sits empty and dark most days -- UNCA is grateful to be promoted by Ban's spokesman. But why is he doing it?

  UNCA itself promoted without irony or comment the participation of "Egypt Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil" -- which push came to shove, or push-over, there was no mention of #FreeAJstaff. Here was Ban with Egypt's Permanent Representative, here. Watch this site - and this one.


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