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For-Pay Syria Session Called "UN Briefing," UNCA Breaks Rules, Trolls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- The Alliance between this UN and the United Nations Correspondents Association is not only one of censorship but also now of fraud.

  On July 26 at noon Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey a simple question: was the upcoming presentation by Syrian opposition figures in UN Room S-310, given by the UN to UNCA, a "UN Briefing" or not?

  UNCA only e-mailed its notice to those who pay it money; throughout July 26 not only UN accredited correspondents who choose not to join the discredited UNCA but also some member states criticized the Syria opposition session.

  Del Buey said he would answer this simple question, but more than a day later: no answer. Instead, after Inner City Press in its name and that of the new Free UN Coalition for Access asked the question, the UNCA Executive Committee related trolls re-started their anonymous social media campaign: UN Cowardice Association.

  Meanwhile, after UNCA inappropriately asked the UN to stream its private for-pay briefing over UNTV, it put it online in piece, labeling it "Special UN Briefing."

  At the beginning, UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk claimed this was a briefing for the "UN press corps" -- but it was not, it was only publicized to those who pay money to UNCA. This is fraud.

  The UN's Department of Public Information participates in this fraud. DPI insists that only journalists can go into the UN press briefing room, and that only journalists with eight clips can get a "P" Press pass to the UN.

  But as Inner City Press has reported, shown on film and now had informally re-confirmed, DPI has given at least one non-journalist UNCA intern a Press pass, and entry into the briefing room and stakeout area.

  The non-journalist intern set up shop in the locked "UNCA" Room 310, and in a so-called focus booth that was supposed to have UN phone service to the Peacekeeping missions.

Actual journalists have been told to leave these focus booths, and even had their UN entry pass de-activated after being found working there. But the UNCA intern is there.

  UNCA has an employee, also given a "P" Press pass, of whom it is not clear there are eight clips. This is the organization which tries to get thrown out of the UN journalist who actually ask questions and publish articles.

  The mockery of DPI's purported rules occurs as DPI cites a rule it passed with UNCA, Banning signs, to threaten Inner City Press with suspension or withdrawal of accreditation for hanging a FUNCA sign on the door of its shared office. (This door was blocked on Friday by the backwash of UNCA's dubious "Special UN Briefing.") UN Censorship Alliance.

  It is that the Executive Committee of UNCA has show disdain for freedom of the press, asking in 2012 that articles and photographs about Sri Lanka and French officials be taken off the Internet then seeking ouster from the UN for resistance to censorship.

  UNCA First Vice President Louis Charbonneau of Reuters has been shown to have given an internal anti-Press UNCA document to UN accreditation official Stephane Dujarric three minutes after stating this would not be done. (Audio here.)

  This is called spying for the UN: this UNCA is a fraud, particularly when it comes to any claim of supporting freedom of the press or defending the rights including due process rights of journalists.

  The UN's room S-310, it was said before the move-back, would be open to all UN accredited correspondents, not locked, or key with the UN Spokesperson's Office. But UNCA keeps it locked, or its "Press" Passed intern inside, when not in the "focus booth" taken from other journalists.

  The UN has been formally asked to explain the July 26 briefing and claims made since; it has yet to respond on that or on how it violated its own stated rules about who gets a "Press" pass and entry into briefings. This is the UN Censorship Alliance. Watch this site.

Footnote: now comes word, not from any e-mail from UNCA, that while the UN Spokesperson's Office still can't or hasn't explained the status of these sessions publicized only to those who pay money, the next "newsmakers" on tap at the UNCA private club are the "Club des Chefs des Chefs" -- those who cook for heads of state. UN Culinary (or Corruption?) Alliance.


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