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First Amendment Stops on First Avenue, VOA Infected, UNCA Anonymous?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 23 -- The First Amendment stops on First Avenue, it has become clear. Not only does freedom of the press not apply to the United Nations, but even US state media granted a cubicle inside, like Voice of America, feels itself exempt too from the US Constitution.

  How else to explain VOA executive editor Steve Redisch writing to the UN on June 20 asking official Stephane Dujarric de la Riviere to review the accreditation status at of the UN of Inner City Press?  The text of the complaint by VOA and others is here.

  Redisch has been asked to justify his attack on free Press but has not. His complaint claims that e-mails Inner City Press sent to the UN Correspondents Association Executive Committee, asserting basic due process rights in the "Board of Examination" process they began to expel Inner City Press, constitutes "harassment."

  Inner City Press, unlike VOA's Redisch, stands behind and can produce and publish every e-mail that it sent and received on this matter.

   But given past complaints by UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli, whose renting of his apartment to Palitha Kohona when Kohona was a UN official, then granting Kohona's request to screen a Sri Lankan government propaganda film denying war crimes when Kohona was, as he is, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN, Inner City Press on June 22 after publishing an exclusive on UN system corruption in Afghanistan sent Pioli and his Committee members this:

On Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 6:45 PM, <Giampaolo Pioli> wrote:

dear colleagues Matthew Lee is requesting one Unca Exacutive Committee meeting

Giampaolo -- I have NOT requested a meeting.

As my e-mail more than 24 hours ago said, I AM requesting an "explanation of the complaint and request to Stephane Dujarric and MALU to 'review [my] status as an accredited U.N. correspondent.'"

I am also requesting disclosure of how the June 14 letter you claimed was "only for UNCA members" has now become, by secret ballot the supposed result of which has not been disclosed, your public response.

You stated that "a copy of the UNCA Executive Committe [sic] Letter to all members has already appeared on the Guardian Blog."

Please state who anonymous "Mundo111" is, or was.

For the record, not only was the June 14 letter inaccurate when you voted on it, as I said at the time -- it is now entirely false in its claim that that there is not an UNCA official / officer (Treasurer) attempt to review and revoke my accreditation.

The Voice of America request for just that cites not only the VOA correspondent but unnamed "others" -- that would be you.

Since the Voice of America challenge to my accreditation presents my communication with the Executive Committee as evidence of harassment:

1) for the record, this is not harassment; and

2) I am NOT requesting any meeting, to avoid any entrapment to be further accused of harassment for asserting my due process rights, and face further complaints to MALU against my accreditation, such as those filed in Lou Charbonneau and now Voice of America.

I am requesting

(a) written explanations of the VOA complaint,

(b) the vote count on making the June 14 letter your public response (after you said it was for UNCA members only),

(c) a disclosure of who the anonymous "Mundo111" who posted the letter is, and

(d) an explanation of how the VOA complaint (and GIampaolo's demand that I not cover UN correspondents no matter what) is consistent with your June 14 letter's claims that you are not requesting censorship or trying to get me thrown out of the UN.

I am requesting each of these in writing, as soon as possible

  Does this constitute harassment?

 Fourteen hours later not a single answer has been provided, other than an expression of surprise that Inner City Press doesn't just give up when faced with a direct challenge to its accreditation.

  That challenge, in context on behalf of the UNCA Executive Committee, was filed by a US government agency funded by taxpayer dollars.

 The First Amendment stops at First Avenue? Watch this site.

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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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