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UNcensored View of World Press Freedom Day Triggered Abuses by UNCA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 9 -- At the UN, the head of the UN Correspondents Association felt comfortable trying to dictate how and who UN Television filmed on World Press Freedom Day. 

  According to multiple sources, Pamela Falk of CBS complained to the top of the Department of Public Information that UNTV dared cut away to a shot of a skeptic during her speech claiming UNCA protects journalists. Video here on Inner City Press' YouTube channel (on full video on UN website, here, from Minute 30).

  Now that the video and the UNCA attempt to censor that it spawned are known, other critics have come forward. This doesn't represent us, said one. Another brought up a surge in Falk's UNCA twitter accounts low number of followers, pointing out hundreds in a row with little identifying information, some with pornographic profiles, concluding, "they're bought followers."

  These include "EXTREMELY DOMINANT BBW," "Nudist * Foreskin lover #BBBH" and "the finest of erotic events and vacations" as well as being padded by executives and stringers for Falk's CBS, like Sharon Hoffman, Nick Barnets and Luke Fredberg. Scroll down to the middle hundreds of follower here.

  The month started when UNCA's 2013-14 president Pam Falk grandiosely attempted to launch a Twitter hashtag promoting the group. An UNCA member, rather than obediently tweeting the contrived tag, noted online that when Falk claimed the "GA commends UNCA every year," UNTV camera cuts to @innercitypress shaking head in disbelief, too funny.

 (The UNTV video, which we went back and found for the reasons below is online here, from Minute 30.)

  As we first diplomatically recorded, the UNTV control room got a complaint about their camera angles. This is called attempted censorship, as is this Digital Millennium Copyright Act filing with Google, here.

  Now we can report based on multiple sources that Falk herself complained to the top of DPI - and that this complaint, rather than being as it should have been laughed at and rejected, was passed on to the control room, trying to dictate even what the camera operators film as cut-aways.

  This is outright censorship: the UN's Censorship Alliance's reverse flow.

  In 2012, some on UNCA's Executive Board tried to pursue the investigative Press for its coverage of UN official Herve Ladsous and also separately of France's ambassador Gerard Araud, then moved for expulsion based on coverage of Sri Lanka. Now, UNCA's president demands that the UN itself change how it films, to censor opposition.

  Out in the real world, the UN Secretariat had no comment on Ethiopia's jailing of journalists including the Zone 9 Bloggers, when asked about it by the new Free UN Coalition for Access. As we covered on May 8, the UN has yet to speak on Yemen's deportation of one of the few (but more than two) non-Yemeni journalists working in the country. The next story is Myanmar - watch this site.


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