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Ban's Office Agreed to End UNSC Media Workspace, Stonewalls on Surveillance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 -- Ban Ki-moon's office has signed off on the elimination of media workspace in front of the Security Council, Ban's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey told Inner City Press on Friday. Video here, from Minute 14:41.

  Before the Security Council was temporarily relocated to the basement during a $2 billion renovation, the UN press corps had a table in front of the Council on which work could be done, while waiting to speak with ambassadors and sources.

  This table was maintained in front of the interim Security Council. But now such a table and method of work is being banned by a UN Media Access Guideline listing as parties the Department of Public Information, the Department of Safety and Security, the old UN Correspondents Association and the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary General.

  Inner City Press asked spokesperson Del Buey, your Office was consulted about these Guidelines?

Yes, Del Buey replied.

  "And you agree with them?"

Yes, Del Buey said.

   Inner City Press thanked him for his candor. There is no longer a doubt: Ban Ki-moon's office has agreed to the reduction in press access to the Security Council. It seems clear that UNCA has as well -- Inner City Press asked Del Buey and he did not disagree.

  UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS News has claimed to at least two dues paying UNCA members that she had not seen the Guidelines, though they were given to the new Free UN Coalition for Access on May 20 for comment.

  Nor in the four days Inner City Press for FUNCA has been opposing and asking about the Guidelines has UNCA's Executive Committee said anything.

  Falk was at a UN press conference on Friday afternoon; her focus was on whispering that she must be given the first question, then demanding the speakers' business cards after asking two made-up questions. Press access? Not so much.

  In fact, just three office doors down from Falk's single occupancy CBS office, a FUNCA flier raising the issue of the loss of media access to the Security Council was defaced on the May 23, with the words "fraud" and the mis-spelled "viscous." (That's UNCA for you.)

  Neither Falk nor her First Vice President Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, also on the scene or at least in the building on Friday, have done anything about it - at least not to stop it.

  In fact, since at latest February 22 both have been aware of multiple anonymous social media accounts associated with UNCA "leaders" -- and with Charbonneau's Reuters -- which falsely charge opponents with being funded by terrorists. To this has UNCA descended under Charbonneau and Falk.

   Del Buey concluded Friday's noon briefing, as he has throughout the week, by saying that only DPI's Stephane Dujarric can answer. But for now Dujarric does not answer or follow through

 Dujarric said he would look into a UN Security camera installed about the office door of Inner City Press and FUNCA -- but has done nothing; Inner City Press had to go itself to speak with the Department of Safety and Security about it.

   Dujarric on Monday May 20 said that an erroneously blacked out speak by Palestine's Saeb Erekat would be put online on May 21. It wasn't that day: no update from Dujarric.

  Nor the next day, after which Inner City Press witnessed an impacted Mission calling him, and returning with Dujarric's excuse about "encryption." Why encrypt the video of an open meeting about Palestine?

Update of May 24, 3:47 pm: Palestine's Saeb Erakat's speech blacked out on UNTV on May 20 is now belatedly online:

  Del Buey first claimed his office announces all ambassadors' departures from the Security Council, which even UNCA's "leaders" know is not true.

  Then Del Buey said that his office announces when a country's mission wants them to. That's quite different, and only covered televised stakeouts. And as shown with Erekat, who knows where THAT goes.

   Likewise, there are many Council activities that take place when formal meetings are not underway. Inner City Press gave the example of the first working day of June, the bi-laterals.

  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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