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UN Said It'd Put Erekat Speech Online May 21, Hasn't May 22, Banning Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 -- On what continuing basis does the UN, after cutting off the UN Television broadcast of a May 20 speech by Palestine's negotiator Saeb Erakat but saying the video would be put online on May 21, not follow through or explain by the end of May 22?

  Inner City Press asked the first question on May 20 right after the cut-off, and seven and a half hour later was told by the chief of UNTV Stephane Dujarric, "Due to a clerical error the meeting was listed as closed and not available to UNTV. However, we will have a recording made available to us tomorrow. It will then be posted on the UN webcast page."

  In its second story on the UN black-out of Erekat, Inner City Press published that response and concluded, "We'll have more on this tomorrow." That was supposed to mean, about the substance of what Erakat said.

  But now 46 hours later, the Erekat video is still not on the UN's website. At a Tuesday evening event of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the General Assembly lobby, another delegation -- not Palestine -- expressed outrage of the blackout, saying "you know who's behind it."

  Actually, we don't. But the UN should take this more seriously. Dujarric has provided no update after saying the video would go online on May 21. Notably, an anonymous social media account which has previously re-tweeted Dujarric on May 21 troll-mocked Inner City Press for pursuing the issue, saying that "real journalists" were in the conference room.

  Perhaps - actually, some of those there are mere typists -- but there are people all over the world who want and have the right to see such a speech given at the UN. What is Dujarric's role with these troll social media accounts? He has done nothing to stop them.

  Inner City Press, pursuing the issue further on May 22, now understands that Dujarric while providing no press update told a mission that the video was "encrypted" and now need to be un-encrypted. This is more than a little strange, and should be explained.

Footnote: we note because we must that this same Stephane Dujarric is involved in a proposal, apparently agreed to by the old UN Correspondents Association, to try to ban the press from using the Security Council stakeout as a workspace, as was allowed in front of the old (pre-renovation) Security Council, and in front of the interim Security Council in the basement under the General Assembly.

  It is there, as the workspace, that the Observer Mission of the State of Palestine and others often delivered its news, which is now being blacked-out for whatever reason by UN DPI. Ban the press from using the stakeout as a workspace? Especially in this context, we (and the Free UN Coalition for Access) think not.

  The implementation -- again, not disclosed by Dujarric -- of the Guidelines is tied to the move of the Security Council, which Inner City Press had confirmed on May 22 to be on May 24. Watch this site.

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