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Stewart Stogel, Who Asked UN UNcomfortable Questions, Dead at 60

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 -- In the small world of journalists covering the UN from within, Stewart Stogel stood out as combative, dogged, critical, unique. He staked out Kofi Annan outside his UN-provided Sutton Place townhouse; he shouted questions at diplomats entering the Security Council while others mouthed, “Hello, Ambassador.”

On November 24 the UN's Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit announced:

“It is with great sadness that my office just learned that U.N. correspondent Stewart Stogel passed away from complications of diabetes. Stew was a veteran journalist who had been covering the United Nations, its Secretaries-General and the activities of the Member States for many years. He worked for several media outfits and his stories appeared on ABC News, Press TV and NBC News but also in Newsweek, The Miami Herald, The Washington Times and World Net Daily. He was 60 years old.”

  Often, those Stogel was covering including in Mount Vernon where he lived, would try to undermine his connections to the above-listed publications. The UN itself made Stogel re-apply for credentials and, according to him, did not make his work easier. Inner City Press and the new Free UN Coalition for Access offers a few anecdotes, links and Rest in Peace wishes.

  In 2008 UNICEF's Ann Veneman agreed to essentially rent out the UN's North Lawn to an event by Madonna, or really, Gucci. Stogel registered to cover it; Inner City Press investigated it from outside. Ultimately many in the UN stepped away from the flawed event. But Stogel kept digging, even as a public relations firm tried to complain against him. His story is here.  Stew Stogel was a working journalist. He will be missed.

  Stogel in his reporting on the UN had a love - hate relationship with some in UN Security: some were sources, others went after him.

  He reported critically on UN Security official Bruno Henn - who, Inner City Press today reports in Stogel's spirit, has been acted in the most recent Department of Safety and Security promotion / demotion exercise - and was known for his reporting on a so-called “riot” last time the UN changed catering contractors, as it is slated to do again on December 31, click here for that. Stogel likewise had a love - hate relations with the Accreditation unit: he liked and was liked by some.

  Another Stogel story, in 2010, involved the reduction in journalists' access at the UN Security Council, citing then “French ambassador Gerard Araud, who had been growing increasingly frustrated with unwelcomed ambush interviews.”

  Precisely the kind of blacklisting which BuzzFeed faced this year from the UN World Health Organization, and which when the Free UN Coalition for Access asked UN spokesman Dujarric about, Dujarric said the UN doesn't do, Stogel faced from Dujarric's predecessor.

Also in 2010, even while accredited through other media, Stogel joined the campaign for bloggers' rights at the UN, writing to the same UN office which eulogized him that

“ICP is reporting that the media/accreditation status of bloggers is still being debated within DPI. Why? Ban Ki-moon is now in office more than three years and this question still remains? The White House addressed the issue of bloggers more than 6 years ago, yet at the UN it is still debated? Why?

“It becomes an important issue because of the repeated confrontational positions DPI has taken with press especially since Ban Ki-moon arrived. DPI has taken the outrageous position of contacting various news organizations and occasionally 'advising' them on who to assign to cover the United Nations. It is tradition going back more than 50 years of accrediting news organizations, not individuals. The Organization has often used credential accreditation as a "political" pressure tactic to retaliate for news coverage it took exception to. This is a department that is quite literally spinning out of control. How long will this continue?”

  In the spirit of Stew Stogel, these questions will continue to be asked. Watch this site.


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