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If Asking Big Media Their Policies Is A Crime From UN to CBS, An Open Letter, 3 Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- Pamela Falk of CBS told Inner City Press on February 22 that writing to the big media companies on the UN Correspondents Association board about their policies "could constitute a crime."

    As well as being the president of UNCA, which in 2012 tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, Falk is a lawyer -- but she did not specify what crime this would be.

   Nor would the UN, whose Media Accreditation boss Stephane Dujarric on February 27 filed a false complaint against Inner City Press for reporting Falk's comments.

   Shown that his complaint was false -- Inner City Press had said loudly, “you are on the record” and Falk said “he's going to write this up,” audio here -- Dujarric refused to retract it.

   Rather, another UNCA “leader,” Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse, along with Reuters' Michelle Nichols, filed their own false complaints with UN Security, apparently based on Inner City Press replying to Witcher hissing “lies and distortion” by saying, “lapdog.”  (Significantly, Falk on February 22 called Inner City Press "a mugger.")

    Despite repeated requests, the UN won't disclose even a summary of the complaints -- to which it has nonetheless twice in Kafka-esque form demanded a written response -- nor its rules for the filing of false or pre-textual complaints, as the New York Civil Liberties Union asked the chief of the UN Department of Public Information on July 5, 2012 regarding an ejection attempt by UNCA before Falk blithely took it over.

    How to ask Reuters and AFP, then, what their policies are on their correspondents filing false complaints with the UN based entirely on free speech, as a pre-text to try to get a smaller competitor thrown out?

   Writing and asking Reuters or AFP “might be a crime,” according to Pamela Falk of CBS, the president of UNCA, now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance.

   And so there can be only open letters, sometimes with audio, open source. The first must be to CBS itself, to ask about its UN correspondent's vague allegations of crime.

CBS' web site says “Dr. Falk” reports for CBS Radio and CBS TV, as well as the “blogs” Political Hotsheet and WorldWatch.

   The CBS website does not list anything by Falk in the past week, despite her statement that she is not at the noon briefings -- and does not know their traditions, and therefore claims that UNCA gets the first question at noon briefings “by tradition” -- because she is always “broadcasting” at that time.

   But before the empty past seven days Falk appeared on CBS Up To The Minute. This CBS show runs between 2 am and 3 am; it is directed by James McGrath and Chris Easley. Its executive producer is Brian Applegate; its many producers include Joseph Gelosi, Norman Gittleson, Tony DiPolvere, Anlynn Truong, Jenn Eaker and Erin Petrun.

   So here are three questions -- not criminal, we trust -- for them and other at CBS:

  1) Before accepting on a platter - running with no competition - for the top spot at UNCA, an organization engaged in 2012 in a controversial campaign to get a smaller investigative media thrown out of the UN, did Falk ask CBS' permission or advice?

  2) As UNCA “leaders” under her tenure started anonymous social media accounts to allege Inner City Press receives terrorist financing, triggering threats from extremists such as in 2012, did Falk seek CBS advice or permission?

  3) What did CBS' Falk mean when she said that to write to big media like CBS to ask about policies, of using anonymous sources, taking other media's exclusive stories without credit, of filing false or pre-text complaints, could “constitute a crime”? Audio here.

Do these acts undermine media freedom? Is CBS comfortable with them being attributed to it?

  These are public questions, for the reasons set forth above, calling for a public response. Watch this site.

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