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On Syria, UN Doesn't Live Broadcast Brahimi, Won't Answer Why, Collusion

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25, updated -- There had been talk of having the “Geneva Two” talks on Syria in June. But on Tuesday morning in Geneva, before a stakeout packed with reporters, UN and Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi said, “I doubt whether the conference will take place in July.”

  This was newsworthy, but search as one might from New York, Brahimi's stakeout was not on the UN live webcast. This is the type of issue worked on by the Free UN Coalition for Access, so @FUNCA_info put the question to the UN in Geneva and a UN spokesperson there, Jens Laerke.

  The UN in Geneva replied to @FUNCA_info that “this short press briefing wasn't webcast but we have published a transcript:”

FUNCA quickly thanked the UN in Geneva and added, “would like to know how / who decides what's webcast.”

  A reply came not from Geneva, but New York-based Stephane Dujarric, who has previously defended the turning off of the UN Webcast just as Syria Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari began to speak, and the blacking out of a speech by Palestine's negotiation Saib Erekat.

  Dujarric wrote to FUNCA (and Inner City Press) that “Actually the Syria Brahimi presser IS available the UN webcast page.”

  Archived video was put online after the stakeout was over. (In the case of Erekat, the blacked out video eventually went up; not so in the case of Ja'afari.) @FUNCA_info replied and asked Dujarric, “It wasn't live on the page: point of webcast. Why not?”

  But as of publication, there has been no answer. Search Dujarric's feed to see if it was somehow answered there, one finds banter with Margaret Besheer of Voice of America, which previously conversed with Dujarric trying to get Inner City Press UN accreditation “reviewed.”

Yesterday, faced with a threat from Dujarric's office to suspend or withdraw Inner City Press' accreditation for merely hanging a Free UN Coalition for Access / FUNCA sign on its office door, Inner City Press published a document showing that the first vice president of the old UNCA, Reuters' Louis Charbonneau, sent Dujarric an internal UNCA document three minutes after it was produced.

 Here is the article, including audio.

  Troublingly, Dujarric accepted it on a non-UN email address steph [at] Is Dujarric an UNCA member? Does UNCA or at least its first vice presidence do intelligence work for the UN? After this improper collusion, what to make of a DPI-UNCA rule being cited to censor or expel Inner City Press for a mere FUNCA sign? Watch this site.

Footnote: Things threaten to get worse, including on the webcasting front, at UN headquarters in New York. The UN gave the audio visual contract to “TeamPeople,” which has told existing workers they will be laid off this Friday and a “skeleton crew” kept through August. Does that mean Brahimi has told them Geneva Two won't happen in August, either?

Update: after publication, Dujarric replied to @FUNCA_info and Inner City Press, "In as much as we wud like to cover everything live all the time, we just cant. #patience." But why has the audio visual contract been given to a union buster who will go to an even more skeleton crew?

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