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

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Censorship Bid of UN 2009 Echoed by UNCA 2012, How & Who to Cover

By Matthew Russell Lee: SLC, NR

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- A new demand for censorship has been made at the UN. As early as 2009, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was advised to "writ[e] to professional journalistic bodies" about Inner City Press and two other media, to force more positive coverage.

  Last month, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations demanded that Inner City Press remove from a story the name of its fourth French chief in a row, Herve Ladsous. Now, the UN Correspondents Association is demanding a broader gag order.

   UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli is demanding, after Inner City Press reporting that he rented his apartment to Palitha Kohona and later granted Kohona's request to screen in the UN a war crimes denial film by his Sri Lankan government, that Inner City Press issue a "public apology" to him and representatives of Reuters, Bloomberg, Voice of America, Al-Arabiya and Agence France Presse.

  Their letter is here; Pioli's proposal is now here.

  Pioli's proposed statement, supported by the Big Five or at least their UN bureau chiefs would force Inner City Press to

"guarantee that my future coverage of the UN for Inner City Press will be based on scrupulous fact checking giving all parties involved the right to full reply and it will not involve other UN correspondents."

  Would this mean that Inner City Press could not report it even if Pioli rented his apartment to Herve Ladsous of UN Peacekeeping, or relatedly to French Ambassador Gerard Araud, or his Italian counterpart Cesare Maria Ragaglini?

  How could the president of a correspondents' association be trying to dictate to another journalist how and who to cover?

  While threatening in the alternative to continue a kangaroo court "investigation" to expel the journalist, which has given rise to physical threats from extremists in the country to whose Ambassador Il Presidente rented his apartment?

 As an aside, while Inner City Press has even during this process gone back to insert comments from, for example, the second Examiner to resign (prior to resignation), Inner City Press is STILL waiting for responses from Reuters (Stephen J. Adler), Bloomberg (Matthew Winkler), AFP, Voice of America (Sonja Pace) and others - we'll have more on this.

  Significantly, Pioli's demand that "future coverage of the UN for Inner City Press will be based on scrupulous fact checking giving all parties involved the right to full reply" echoes a complaint made to Ban Ki-moon by his head Chief of Management in May 2009, which was exposed by Inner City Press.

  According to the memo to Ban, in a May 8, 2009 meeting Kane, Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien, communications chief Michael Meyer, and now former spokeswoman Michele Montas and Department of Public Information chief Kiyo Akasaka

"propose[d] writing to professional journalistic bodies which regulate the journalists concerned as well as letters to the Editors with copies to their Companies' Legal Counsel. Should DPI gather sufficient examples of inaccurate reporting, we can consider more formal legal responses such as 'cease and desist' or 'letters before action' sent by outside counsel."

   At least on paper, UNCA is one such "professional journalistic bodies."

  Inner City Press at the June 18 noon briefing asked Farhan Haq, who was a Ban Ki-moon spokesperson in 2009 and remains one now, follow up questions about this advice from Kane, still with the UN, to Ban.

  Also still at the UN and involved in the 2009 meeting and advice were Patricia O'Brian and Michael Myer; Department of Public Information chief Kiyo Akasaka is gone, and his Austrian replacement Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal has yet to take office.

  Nevertheless Haq, twice referred the question to DPI, specifically to its News and Media division which oversees the Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit which said it would renew Inner City Press' accreditation on June 4, after three requests made in light of threats by UNCA then from Sri Lankan extremists.

On June 4 MALU said no; then wrote a letter charging Inner City Press with "unprofessional... misconduct" for signing in as a guest to the UN Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman.

  So in 2009 Ban Ki-moon was advised, to combat critical media, to file complaints with "professional journalistic bodies" -- like UNCA.

  In 2012, UNCA and its president try to tell Inner City Press how to cover the UN, and who to cover at the UN, or face expulsion; UNCA's first vice president Lou Charbonneau of Reuters files a complaint against Inner City Press with MALU.

  The full phrase to Ban Ki-moon from Kane in 2009 was to write to "professional journalistic bodies which regulate the journalists." Does UNCA "regulate" journalists?

 Should UNCA and its President and Executive Committee be able to censor journalists? Watch this site.

Footnote: past 6:30 pm, before and hastening publication of this analysis (Inner City Press had still been waiting for Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General transcript, and mostly to see what the OSSG answer, if any, might be), Pioli continued his crusade, proposing to replace the second resigned Board of Examination member with Ali Barada, who has already expressed a view of the outcome of the case.

   No jury would include such a person; nor should this UNCA Board of Examination, already a charade and kangaroo court. Barada has been informed of the threats triggered by the Board Pioli's asked him to join as a hanging judge. Now what?

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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

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