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UN Rules Banning Press Work at UNSC Slated for May 24, Now Online Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 -- The new "Media Access Guidelines" for the UN, which provide that the "Security Council stakeout area, including the Turkish Lounge, is not to be used as a permanent workspace for the media," would go into effect after May 24 when the Council moves, Inner City Press learned on May 22.

  At the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey who is behind the roll-back in media access: a Security Council member, the UN Secretariat or the UN Correspondents' Association, whose name is on the guidelines?

  Del Buey replied that the UN does not comment on "leaked documents." Video here from Minute 6:55.

  But, Inner City Press pointed out, these Guidelines weren't leaked. They were provided just this week to the new Free UN Coalition for Access for comment.

  While FUNCA protested on these and other grounds to UN official Stephane Dujarric, now with the impending application of the Guidelines, does Ban Ki-moon support the roll-back in media access?

  Del Buey said "it's not a question of Ban Ki-moon" or of his spokesperson's office. And notably, Ban's spokesperson's office which under Kofi Annan used to have access to Security Council consultations, does not anymore. Is that why they don't care if the media, too, lose access?

Inner City Press has raised the issue with the incoming President of the Council for June, who has lent a seemingly attentive ear. But UNCA members, even a past president, consulted on Wednesday had not even been shown the Guidelines.

  The Guidelines would also ban non-resident correspondents from the Delegates' Lounge, and purport to prohibit substantive fliers even on reporters' office doors.

Inner City Press is putting them online: as provided with UNCA in the first paragraph, here, and with track changes in red by FUNCA, here, as submitted by FUNCA to the UN, proposing a table at the Security Council stakeout and other changees. Watch this site.

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