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Banning Press from UNSC, Dujarric Pretends No Table in Past, FUNCA Protests

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23, updated -- While claiming to be considering objections to its proposed roll-back of media access to cover the Security Council, the UN late Thursday for a second time flatly stated that there will be no media table in front of the renovated Security Council.

  This despite the fact that such a table was permitted and used under previous Secretary General Kofi Annan, and in the interim Security Council in the basement under the General Assembly.

This despite that fact that incoming Security Council president Mark Lyall Grant of the UK has closely listened, without saying no, to proposals by Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access for a table between the steps down to the Security Council and the so-called Turkish Lounge.

  This despite the fact that even French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud told Inner City Press on Thursday morning that the Security Council president would have to be consulted about this.

  Who is behind this roll back in press access? The two "no table" statements have come from UN official Stephane Dujarric, who is at highest the number three official in the UN Department of Public Information.

  The chief of DPI Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal is out of the office until May 28. His Number Two and Officer in Charge Maher Nasser has been copied on all of FUNCA's objections, but has said nothing.

  So is one Stephane Dujarric allowed, alone or with partners, to set the policy for how the UN Security Council can be covered? Here is how he responded on this issue:

From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
Date: Thu, May 23, 2013
Subject: Re: Reiterated requests on table by UNSC
To: funca [at]
Cc: matthew.lee [at]

Dear Matthew, on the issue of the tables, I do not anticipate any changes. The stakeout is not an office area. The offices provided by the UN to the press are exactly that: offices. Desks and tables were permitted at the stakeout at the temporary location of the Security Council because your offices were far away. Once the Security Council returns to it's [sic] original space, your office will only be one flight of stairs away.

  It's simple, but apparently needs to be said again: there was a table in front of the old Security Council, even though the press floors were then and now on the third and fourth floor. As several Security Council ambassadors acknowledged to Inner City Press as obvious earlier on May 23, they often leave meetings before the formal end, and would be long gone before a scribe sitting in his or her office upstairs was aware of it.

May 22: UN says on reduction of press access to UNSC, talk to Dujarric [UNTV]

  Likewise, there are many Council activities that take place when formal meetings are not underway. That is why there was a table there before, and must be in the future -- whatever Dujarric and his partners say. Watch this site.

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