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UNSC Move Rolled Back to May 31, UN Says "No Table" - No Permanent Members?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- The day after UN told Inner City Press that "there will be no tables or work stations set up at the Security Council stakeout when we return," the return of the Council from the basement under the General Assembly to the Secretariat building's second floor was put back from May 24 to at least May 31.

  Press access to cover the Security Council is the issue. In the past on the second floor of the Secretariat, there was a press table in front of the Security Council. Journalists could sit and work there, and then ask questions of diplomats going in and out of the Council.

Now a rule has been proposed -- and presented as final -- that

"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."

  This was provided to the new Free UN Coalition for Access on Monday, May 20. FUNCA only opened the Word file and looked at it on May 21 and saw the above, as well as restriction of the Delegates' Lounge to Resident Correspondents and an anti free speech restriction on substantive flyers even on journalists' office doors. As provided, here; with FUNCA track changes, here.

  FUNCA filed a protest and track changes on May 21 with the top officials of the Department of Public Information.

  It has since spoken about the issue with the incoming President of the Security Council for June, the UK's Mark Lyall Grant (who has listened attentively), to French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud (who said DPI should check with the Council president, that is, Lyall Grant) nand spokespeople of other Security Council delegations.

  Notably, Security Council members and staff have said they had nothing to do with the draft, and told Inner City Press to look at the list of parties at the top of the Guidelines. Less credibly, the president of the UN Correspondents Association, one of the listed parties, claimed on May 22 that she had not seen the Guidelines.

  This is not credible; as simply one example, of the the long paragraph purportedly to prohibit flyers she said that FUNCA's flyers have been insulting because they have mentioned her name. Her letter to DPI saying that access to the Delegates' Lounge should be for Resident Correspondents is also noted.

  At the May 22 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey who is behind the proposal, and of the role of Ban and his Secretariat. Later on May 22, Dujarric wrote to FUNCA stating, among other things that

Subject: Request for suspension of Media Access Guidelines and information about them
From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Wed, May 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM
To: funca [at]
Cc: Matthew Lee [at]

Matthew, On the guidelines, we gave you a chance to comment and I thank you for those comments. In the end, these are the UN's guidelines. While we give you a chance to input, we reserve the final say. What I can tell you know is that there will be no tables or work stations set up at the Security Council stakeout when we return. That area is reserved for stakeouts. If you need to work you can do that in the office which has been provided to you by the United Nations.

  First, that is not the same, in terms of covering the Council including as has been possible in the past. Second, the office Dujarric referred to had a UN Security camera installed directly above it, making it a whistleblower free zone. We'll have more on this.

Footnote: a Permanent Representative (that is, Number One Ambassador) stopped Thursday to joke with Inner City Press in front of the interim Security Council, you are a permanent member of the Council. That is the word in the proposal: no permanant workspace. He joked: how about no more Permanent members of the Security Council? Watch this site.

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