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AFP Closeness With UN Shown by Revolving Door to Getting Paid, Context

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 -- Agence France Presse, which has filed a complaint against Inner City Press of which no copy has yet been provided, is close not only with Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, but with the UN more widely.

   UN Security on Monday afternoon informed Inner City Press that Tim Witcher of AFP and a correspondent of Reuters have tried to convert a verbal disagreement about their use by the UN into a complaint to which Inner City Press is supposed to respond -- without seeing a copy.

   Inner City Press has requested a copy, and any and all applicable UN rules (these have in the past been denied, even to the New York Civil Liberties Union, click here for that.)

  For now, here is the more context, which UN Security should have checked, or still should check, before processing a frivolous and pretextual complaint from Tim Witcher or AFP.

  Back in September 2011, when Witcher asked the UN Correspondents Association to censure Inner City Press for a story it wrote about Ladsous, Inner City Press asked Witcher about what conflict of interest rules might exist at AFP or the UN applicable to a person who covered the UN for AFP then working for the UN.

  Click here for audio, for the context of Witcher's still unseen March 2013 complaint.

Witcher first said he didn't know who was referred to, then insisted that despite a UN Staff badge the person did not work for the UN but rather... Human Rights Watch. Audio here.

Witcher of AFP, March 8, 2013, Ladsous not shown, thanks UN Multimedia

The Reuters bureau chief, Louis Charbonneau, said there would be no conflict of interest working for the UN, it would be up to AFP.

  Later in June 2012, as shown by documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, AFP and Reuters supported Voice of America's request to Stephane Dujarric of the UN to “review” the accreditation of Inner City Press, based entirely on things published and said by Inner City Press.

  Now Witcher of AFP and Charbonneau's Reuters charge have tried to convert free speech -- the word “lapdog,” which is not even a swear word -- into a complaint to UN Security.

  This is one reason AFP, at least at the UN, is becoming known to stand for Anti Free Press, just as during Witcher's and Charbonneau's tenure, now along with Pamela Falk of CBS, UNCA is functioning as the UN's Censorship Alliance.

  Falk at an on the record February 22 meeting including Dujarric told Inner City Press that to write to these these media companies to ask about their policies "might be a crime." Censorship Alliance indeed.

  Inner City Press is requesting a copy of the complaint, and of due process rules the UN should have, which have also been formally requested by the New York Civil Liberties Union and now by the new Free UN Coalition for Access. Watch this site.

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