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UN Votes Without Competition, UNCA Top 6 UNopposed After Tried Expel Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 7 -- What do you call a political system in which there is no competition for the positions of president, three vice presidents, secretary, and treasurer --  since only one candidate, endorsed by the outgoing UNCA president in five of the six cases, is running for each slot?

   Hint: it is not a democracy -- quite the opposite.

  So it is with the UN Correspondents Association, which purports to defend the rights of journalists to cover the UN system. In the past year, the UNCA Executive Committee has allowed the UN to reduce media space by over 40%.

  In a perversion of its stated mission, the UNCA Executive Committee sought to expel, and then get dis-accredited from the UN, the investigative Press. And yet confirmed Monday is a final slate for uncontested election to the top six posts:

President: Pamela Falk, CBS News TV & Radio; 1st Vice President: Louis Charbonneau, Reuters; 2nd VP: Masood Haider, Dawn; 3rd VP: Sylviane Zehil, L'Orient le Jour; Treasurer: Bouchra Benyoussef, Maghreb Arab Press; Secretary: Barbara Plett, BBC.

  Four of these six are in line to maintain the same post they had in 2012. First Vice President Lou Charbonneau of Reuters used his position to try to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

  Five of the six above, and between five and seven of those running for the nine "at large" seats, were asked to explain or comment on the documents obtained under FOIA, including one stating that "UNCA" was meeting with the UN "very quietly" to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN.

  No explanation or comment was provided; the time for that has elapsed. Now, the response to questioning of UNCA has been to scrawl on the fliers, "Looney Club."

   The lack of a second candidate for any of the top six position is all the more troubling given that the Executive Committee openly violated the UNCA Constitution and did not hold the election as required by December 15, nor relinquish power by January 1. 

   The stated reason was to attract "new blood." But as noted five of the uncontested top six were on the Executive Committee last year, the Second and Third Vice Presidents for many years.

As noted in an earlier article about this "election," the views on all this of the new president-designate, nominated by the four-year president now outgoing, from censorship to dis-accreditation bids to (now) the defacing of FUNCA's fliers, are not yet known. It's increasingly like another succession recently discussed but barely acted on in the UN Security Council.

  From UNCA members current and past, it has been noted that in this current unopposed slate the top two UNCA posts would both be filled by Americans. It's been noted that nowhere in the Executive Committee is there any sub-Saharan African or African-American journalist.

   Is this the UN? The new Free UN Coalition for Access for its part will stay as far away as possible from this corrupt coronation which openly violates the UNCA constitution.

   FUNCA has told the UN Department of Public Information that the so-called "UNCA Club" should be designated more neutrally as the "UN Press Club," same with the laughably named "UNCA Pantry;" the separate "UNCA Office" should be given to the journalists long waiting for work space in the UN. Watch this site.

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