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Policy of UN Censorship Alliance to Tear Down FUNCA Fliers Does Not Apply, Lawless

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 25 -- While fear and anger at free speech is by no means limited to the UN and its Correspondents Association, their amateur lawlessness was on display this week.

   After the Free UN Coalition for Access posted substantive fliers, the UN late Thursday announced that all fliers which do not have a UN "BCSS" stamp of approval on them will be removed over this coming weekend.

   The day before this flier purge announcement, FUNCA posted a flier about UN official Stephane Dujarric's refusal to disclose the UN's policy on due process for reporters.

  Dujarric was asked after he processed a June 20, 2012 request for dis-accreditation by Voice of America, which said it had the support of Reuters and Agence France-Presse and of UNCA, which it said met "with UN officials (very quietly)" to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

   The UN Correspondents Association, now also known as the UN Censorship Alliance, tore four of these fliers down, and covered over others with counterfeit fliers, after earlier scrawling "Looney Club" and "Dirty Shirt Club" on similar fliers.

   Now the campaign to silence criticism has escalating, attempting to use an old bureaucratic rule to outlaw the posting of fliers with substantive opinion.

  But tellingly, the material in UNCA's glassed in bulletin board at the entrance to the press floor at the UN does not have any BCSS stamp of approval.

   Will the UNCA bulletin board, on which they posted for months in 2012 a letter denouncing Inner City Press, be left up during the weekend purge? How about fliers by Verizon, which don't have the BCSS stamp of approval?
   How about the large photographs of Security General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman and head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, which UNCA posted right outside Inner City Press' cubicle, BCSS stamp nowhere to be seen?

   Here is what the UN Media and Accreditation Unit sent out at 5 pm on January 24:

Dear Resident Correspondents,

No individual or group has permission to individually tape a poster or flyer in UN hallways. Each poster/flyer must be stamped and signed by Broadcast and Conference Support Service (BCSS) which then posts the posters/flyers on the designated bulletin boards. The UN Administrative Guidelines for Posting Flyers is attached.

In light of this policy, MALU will put in a request to the cleaners to remove this weekend any posters/flyers from the second floor of the Library building which is not stamped by BCSS.

   The problem for these censors is that the attached policy, which we will put online here, by its terms only sets rules for "flyers" which it defines as

"A flyer in this guideline is used for defining a single page leaflet advertising an event or other activity sponsored by the Permanent Mission(s) and/or the United Nations department(s) and held on the United Nations premises -- Secretariat, DCI, DC2 and UNICEF."

   FUNCA is not a UN department or a country's Permanent Mission, and it is not advertising any event -- as for example UNCA for months advertised its $250 a plate December 2012 dinner dance celebrating Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those flier did not have any BCSS stamp of approval.

   So one would think that the FUNCA flier will not be touched, at least by the UN. (Lawlessness may prove otherwise.) That UNCA's increasingly desperate "leadership" will continue to deface or counterfeit them is another matter.

Footnote: Hand-picked by the past president, UNCA's new president who ran without any competition is rarely seen at the UN except recently to received canned congratulations from UN officials. She is a lawyer who works for CBS, which itself censored its affiliate CNET on a an advertisement Hopper controversy recently. Perhaps this new faux legalistic censorship bid is no surprise. Watch this site.

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