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Behind UN Raid on Press Office Are UN Censorship Alliance Leaders, Named Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 -- Behind the UN raid on Inner City Press' office on Monday (photo, video), beyond the UN officials who entered, search and photographed the Press office without any notice or consent are those who created the atmosphere: the UN's Censorship Alliance, which continues to call itself the UN Correspondents Association.

  Freedom of Information Act documents obtained from Voice of America show that it was UNCA that “met with UN officials (very quietly)” in 2012 to try to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN. Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, then and now UNCA's First Vice President, has refused to state his role in this meetings (audio here), as has UN official Stephane Dujarric.

Dujarric, two days before the raid by his Media Accreditation unit, dismissed Inner City Press' renewed request for due process rules and protections.

But who leads this UN Censorship Alliance, whose president Pamela Falk of CBS took photographs of the raid on Inner City Press' office?

On the Executive Committee of the UN's Censorship Alliance are:

Masood Haider of Pakistan's Daily Dawn, who voted repeatedly in 2012 to get Inner City Press thrown out;

Tim Witcher of Agence France Presse, who asked UNCA to act against Inner City Press about an article it published about Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, then supported Voice of America's exposed request to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, then filed his own false complaint about a March 8 verbal encounter which he initiated by cutting into a conversation to hiss about “lies and distortions;”

Denis Fitzgerald of Saudi Press Agency, who in connection with false allegations that Inner City Press must be funded by the terrorist Tamil Tigers because it asked questions about Sri Lanka, browbeat Inner City Press and offered to serve on a panel to judge it;

Barbara Plett of BBC, who voted to expel the press, asking Inner City Press why it had published a photograph of the French Ambassador, and why it reported that UNCA's president had rented one of his apartment to Sri Lanka's ambassador, when he was a UN official, before UNCA without asking the opinion of the whole board screened Sri Lanka's war crimes denial film in the UN;

Sylviane Zehil of L'Orient le Jour, who went shown news articles from government press in Sri Lanka saying Inner City Press should be jailed for what it had written, and related anonymous death threats triggered by the UNCA proceeding, said “that is not my problem;”

Ban Ki-moon's UNCA Lunch of the Lost, Feb 7, 2013, credit Evan Schneider, UNPhoto. From left: OSSG's Del Buey; Denis Fitzgerald of Saudi Press Agency; OSSG's Nesirky; Melissa Kent of CBC; Sylviane Zehil of L'Orient le Jour; Tim Witcher of AFP; Ali Barada of An-Nahar; Ban Ki-moon, Kahraman Halicelik of Turkish Radio & TV; Pamela S. Falk of CBS; Lou Charbonneau of Reuters; Bouchra Benyoussef of Maghreb Arab Press; Yasuomi Sawa of Kyodo News; Masood Haider of Dawn; Unknown; Zhenqiu Gu of Xinhua; Stephane Dujarric of UN DPI

Bouchra Benyoussef of Maghreb Arab Press, who voted against Inner City Press every time and, once seeing Inner City Press rushing to try to ask a question of a Moroccan official at a UN stakeout, gestured that the microphone should be turned off, the stakeout ended;

Zhenqiu Gu of Xinhua, who voted every time against Inner City Press, told Inner City Press that it did not respect authority enough and placed his Xinhua underling Bill Reilly as the chair of the panel to judge Inner City Press, despite conflict of interest;

Ali Barada of An-Nahar, who filed his own false complaint against Inner City Press (deemed even by UN authorities to be “bogus”) and served on panel to judge Inner City Press but refused to respond to legal requests to see “evidence” alluded to;

Kahraman Halicelik of Turkish Radio & TV who claimed he would drop off the board if UNCA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN-- then when that was proved, under FOIA, didn't leave, and remains on the board;

Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, who filed a stealth complaint in 2012, had Reuters support Voice of America's move to thrown Inner City Press out of the UN (according to VOA documents), and on February 22 told Inner City Press, “the fundamental problem is your website” (his colleague Michelle Nichols joined in Witcher of AFP's false February 22 complaint); and

Pamela Falk of CBS, who screamed at Inner City Press on February 22 “mugger” and “you call yourself a journalist” and “just don't write about me,” before taking pictures of the raid on Inner City Press' office on March 19. UN Censorship Alliance indeed. Watch this site.

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