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As UN Cuts Media Access, Questions Of Its Partner's Lack of Legitimacy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 -- With the UN Security Council mid-move back to its second story chamber at UN Headquarters in New York, and still no media table as existed before and during the relocation, a close observer of the UN has written in from overseas to ask the Free UN Coalition for Access about the (still draft?) Media Access Guidelines:

"How come the United Nations Correspondents Association is participating like some kind of junior partner in helping to formulate the guidelines? Has UNCA called its members in for a general meeting to vote about the guidelines? If there was no general meeting for the guidelines to be discussed by the members of UNCA, who, without being authorized by the members, has signed the agreement between UNCA, DPI, DSS and OSSG?"

  These are pertinent questions, and not only because the answers -- no general membership meeting, UNCA Executive Committee dominated and used by Reuters (through First Vice President Louis Charbonneau), CBS (through absentee president Pamela Falk), Agence France Presse (through Tim Witcher) and others -- show just now debased UNCA has become.

  Rather, it shows how this UN does not care about legitimate process or transparency -- it will work with anyone that supports what it wants to do, and then call it legitimate.

  The Department of Public Information has known for some time that UNCA Executive Committee members were involved in anonymous social media accounts falsely accusing others of being funded by terrorists -- but DPI did nothing.

  DPI's overseer of Media Accreditation, Stephane Dujarric, fields requests to get smaller media thrown out through a non-UN e-mail address. In any other context, a body of the Office of Internal Oversight Services would look into this "Bad Lieutenant" behavior. But not in this UN. Overseer Dujarric is apparently not himself overseen.

  Instead, Dujarric was allowed to take the lead in eliminating media workspace in front of the Security Council. Inner City Press has been reporting on this as a case of big media versus small. Others have opined that this is UNCA Executive Committee members', and Dujarric's, way of "getting back" for articles they have not liked.

  What kind of correspondents association would not only agree to, but lobby for, a reduction in media access? One that is finished. Or, one at the UN.

  Inner City Press asked DPI, and asks again: who drafted and who agreed to this paragraph:

"f. The Security Council stakeout area, including the Turkish Lounge, is not to be used as a permanent workspace for the media. When the Council is not in session, correspondents should minimize the amount of time in the area, unless interviewing or conversing with a U.N. delegate or official."

We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

Footnote: Of Falk, the 2013 president of UNCA, we must again note that when the UN conducted a non-consensual raid on Inner City Press' office on March 18, 2013, Falk stood and ghoulishly took photographs.

  When the question was raised in writing WHY she should photographs, Falk's response was a legal threat, from her e-mail account, to cease and desist even asking the question. This is journalism? The question still stands.

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