Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As CPJ Celebrates Select Journalists, Silence in UN on Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 25 -- At Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria hotel a crowd of media's elite, the men in tuxedos, will tonight celebrate select journalists from Iran, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam and Burma -- which calls itself Myanmar.

  These are all fine and heroic journalists, but Inner City Press and the UN-based Free UN Coalition for Access are left with questions. The selection by the Committee to Protect Journalists seems one-sided, without even a tip of the cap, or bow-tie, to James Risen or James Rosen, prosecuted the the US, much less journalists killed in Eastern Ukraine by forces based in Kyiv.

   Or take the cases of Ethiopia's Zone 9 bloggers and Temesgen Desalegn, which were tellingly ignored by CPJ when on a panel at the UN on November 3. That day the UN held its event for the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Not a single question from a journalist was taken.  CPJ was on the panel.

 Also speaking from the podium was for example UNESCO's Deputy Director General Getachew Engida of Ethiopia, a country which just sentenced to three years in jail journalist  Desalegn.

This journalist's imprisonment, for “provocation,” is hardly low profile; either is that of the Ethopian Zone 9 Bloggers. But the moderator, UNESCO's George Papagiannis, did not raise the issue, even as he purported to read out congratulatory live-tweets about the event.

  (IFEX to its credit did reply to one of @InnerCityPress' tweets questioning the event and how it was run, here. By another, it was suggested that maybe Engida, even with his many UN system posts, is a dissident from Ethiopia. But it does not seem like it: see recent photo here.)

Nor did any of the other panelists raise it: Joel Simon of CPJ, Greece's Ambassador, Columbia University's Agnes Callamard. The lone media panelist, from Al Arabiya, spoke without irony about naming and shaming countries which jail critics for mere tweets: many in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.

Inner City Press as media, and the new Free UN Coalition for Access, had this question ready:

about an underpinning to deadly attacks on journalist: the idea that they are parties to a conflict, or can be prosecuted for their reporting on national security. Can the panel, particularly the Deputy Director General of UNESCO, comment on Ethiopia jailing journalist Temesgen Desalegn for three years for “provocation”? Or, to be fair, the prosecutions here in the US of James Rosen, James Risen and Barrett Brown, set to be sentenced on November 24? Of the breaking up of meetings of reporters in Sri Lanka, a country in which journalists have been killed or “disappeared,” as in the case of Prageeth. What is the relation of such prosecutions to the actual killing of journalists?”

But, as noted, the hour and a half long panel took not a single question from a journalist. At the day's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban while in Ethiopia recently to make it the third largest UN “duty station” had in any way raised the case of journalist Temesgen Desalegn.

 Apparently not. This is how the UN -- and CPJ, to some extent -- work, or don't.

  When CPJ was shown of censorship within the UN itself, it did nothing.  Then president of the UN Correspondents Association Giampaolo Pioli demanded that a Press story about him renting one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador, then unilaterally agreeing to use UNCA to screen the Sri Lankan government's war crimes denial film in the UN.

  When Inner City Press refused to take the story down, instead offering to publish a letter to the editor of any length, Pioli made good on this threat to try to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN. Documents obtained from Voice of America under FOIA here, here (AFP) and here (Reuters - which also tried to censor its complaint to the UN, here, via Electronic Frontier Foundation's Chilling Effects project.

 What did CPJ do or say about this? Unlike the New York Civil Liberties Union, here, CPJ did and said nothing - like the Sri Lankan government, it uses UNCA as one of its ways into the UN. It is inconvenient to look at this. But now, indicative of UNCA's decay, Pioli is set without competition to return to head UNCA. So will CPJ's longstanding marriage of convenience at the UN continue apace? Watch this site.

  CPJ's 2014 International Press Freedom Awardees are Aung Zaw (The Irrawaddy, Burma -- a/k/a Myanmar), Siamak Ghaderi (Freelance, Iran), Mikhail Zygar, (Dozhd, Russia), Ferial Haffajee (City Press, South Africa). 2013 Imprisoned Awardee Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay, Vietnam).


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]