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After Faux Press Encounter, Ban Does Interview on LinkedIn, Softball with Scribes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- When is a “press encounter” not a real press encounter? When is an interview essentially a fake?

  Two days after the UN claimed that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a "press encounter" but the press corps which covers the UN was not informed and was not present, Ban has done an "interview" -- on LinkedIn.  Why was this done?

   Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric on July 1 said that Ban, after the press-less press encounter, did an interview - on his LinkedIn page. This essentially promotes that for-profit company, as it can only be seen if one joins.

  Those ostensibly speaking for the UN press corps make no complaints, instead bragging about Ban kicking a (soft) ball with them. Despite previous issues with UNCA presidential financial links with Sri Lanka's ambassador - and attempts to censor reporting on these - and reversal on donated TV, UNCA's president is bragging about new jerseys: branding everything.

   This is UN decay, and what the Free UN Coalition for Access is challenging.

  On Sunday, June 29 Ban's spokesperson's office sent out a transcript of what it called Ban's “Remarks at Press Encounter with H.E. Mr. Shimon Peres, President of Israel.” What was sent out did not say when it had occurred, nor where, other than “New York.”

  No notice was sent out by the UN's Media Liaison and Accreditation Unit, nor by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric. When Dujarric was in charge of MALU, FUNCA formally asked him to begin providing notice of Ban events even if held outside of the UN headquarters.

  On June 30, Inner City Press for FUNCA asked, where did the "press encounter" take place and why were the press not told? Dujarric said it was the Israeli mission which made the arrangements -- if true, that is abnormal, as the UN is supposed to announce to the media it accredits when Ban will be taking questions on UN relevant issues.

  Dujarric bragged when he gave notice of Ban meeting New York City Mayor De Blasio - but gave no notice of the "press availability" regarding Israel's Peres. FUNCA says this is UNacceptable.

  The old UN Correspondents Association on the other hand, whose head Pamela Falk was present on June 30 if only to take the first set-aside question to Hilde Johnson on South Sudan, made no complaint.

  Instead, they are bragging about a "journalists and diplomats" game of football or soccer this week, even that Ban Ki-moon may be present at the kick-off.  Virtually? Softballs, indeed.


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