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On Snowden, UNCA Calls Ecuador “Autocratic” & Russia “Uncooperative," UN Consensus Alliance?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- At the UN and even in its press corps there are a range of views, for example on former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and the countries he's been in and has applied to enter. But this range is not reflected at the top of the UN Correspondents Association.

  On Tuesday at US Ambassador Rice's last UN stakeout, UNCA's 2013 president Pamela Falk of CBS began her question: “Can you comment on the autocratic governments of Ecuador, China, Russia characterizing themselves in the Snowden case as defenders of democracy as against the United States?” Video here, from Minute 9:50.

  Is Ecuador autocratic? Why this loaded question? Particularly from the head of an organization, UNCA, which in 2012 tried to get smaller investigative Press throw out of the UN, and in 2013 lobbied for and sign onto a rule to outlaw even the sign of a start-up alternative, the Free UN Coalition for Access?

  UNCA's first vice president in both 2012 and 2013 is Reuters' Lou Charbonneau, who asked Rice: “Russia has been, on a number of issues, at odds with the United States, not just on Syria. We’re seeing with the Snowden case that they simply aren’t cooperating with the US.” Video here, from Minute 15:30.

  In fact, Snowden flew as a transit passenger into Russia, which does not require a visa. He has stayed since in the transit terminal of the airport outside of Moscow. Both questions are entirely from a US point of view. But this is the UN, as in United Nations Correspondents Association. Or is it?

  Filing the 2012 request for the UN Department of Public Information's Stephane Dujarric to “review” Inner City Press' accreditation was Voice of America, document as obtained under the Freedom of Information Act here.

  Earlier on Tuesday, VOA's Margaret Besheer asked Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari a similarly loaded question about Hezbollah. He replied, “Are you a young journalist or an old journalist? ... If you were a real journalist, you could not ask that.”

  The same might be said for asking the US ambassador about “autocratic” Ecuador claiming “to represent democracy.” But this is UNCA -- and it is why Dujarric's and others in DPI's attempt to outlaw even the Free UN Coalition for Access' sign is so unsavory. As it turns out, they work together. Who's autocratic, again? Watch this site.

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