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Ignoring Syria Scoops, Pioli's UNCA Tries to Pick 2 More Hanging Judges

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- As Press inquiries continued Sunday into the UN's leaked notice Friday that its Syria mission was limiting its "mobile activities," the UN Correspondents Association Executive Committee and President Giapaolo Pioli was engaged in trying to replace the second resigning member of the "Board of Examination" they established to investigate Inner City Press with an eye toward expelling it.

   The first of Pioli's five Examiners to resign was unilaterally replaced on June 15. By whom? By a close friend of a disgruntedly former UN reporter who recently resurrected a complaint about Press reporting of French mission briefings.

  His offer of testimony is implicitly connected to an attempt to get another UN reporting job and return to New York. In the Wild West, now on the far East Side of Manhattan, this is called a hanging judge.

   But, tellingly, on June 15 a second examiner resigned, concluding that a mediated solution has become unlikely. Pioli has demanded a blanket apology for Inner City Press' factual reporting that Pioli rented his apartment to Palitha Kohona, now the Sri Lankan ambassador whose request to screen a war crimes denial film Pioli granted without consulting other Executive Committee members including Inner City Press.

  In order to tone down the death threats from Sri Lankan extremists triggered by the UNCA proceeding, Inner City Press offered a balanced clarification.

  But Pioli has demanded, among other things, that Inner City Press "guarantee that [any] future coverage of the UN" not even mention "other UN correspondents" - including, of course, him. This is censorship.

  But even on Sunday, amid questions raised by Inner City Press' world exclusive of the Syria shut down notice to the Security Council by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, led by the fourth Frenchman in a row Herve Ladsous, Pioli and this five big media entourage continued to try to push forward with their Board of Examination.

   Now the second resignee is proposed to be replaced by an individual who has already expressed a view of the outcome of the case. No jury would include such a person; nor should this UNCA Board of Examination, already a charade and kangaroo court. The individual has been informed of the threats triggered by the Board Pioli's asked him to join as a hanging judge. Now what?

  If it goes forward -- and under the most basic principles of protecting journalists, which UNCA's Constitution claims it does -- then the Examiners should be journalism ethics professors. Let them judge what the problem is: truthful reporting, or a journalist renting his apartment to people he purports to cover.

  Or, as in the case of Pioli, also making campaign contributions to a politician he writes about for the Poligrafici Editoriale Group and its Quotidiano Nazionale, La Nazione, Il Resto de Carlino, Il Giorno and, yes,

   And we are still waiting for a response to formal question put to Pioli's hand-picked chairman, about conflicts and junkets, beyond his one-line answer that he worked for UPI for fifty years. 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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