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With Raid on Press Office, UN Goes Lower Than Under Annan or Akasaka

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 -- Notable about the UN's raid on Inner City Press' office on Monday, to search through papers and take photographs, and allow the UN Correspondents Association president Pamela Falk of CBS to take photographs as well, is that nothing like this took place under Ban Ki-moon's predecessor as Secretary General Kofi Annan, or under former head of the Department of Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka.

  Starting with DPI, Inner City Press since December 7, 2012 has been petitioning and even meeting with the top officials at DPI on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, seeking reforms including due process rules for journalists.

  Who knew that privacy rights would also be necessary -- that DPI would order a search of the Press' office when it could easily have contacted Inner City Press and requested access and any changes?

  Instead, DPI has sided with UNCA to the extent of DPI official Stephane Dujarric falsely charging Inner City Press with some violation for having quoted UNCA's Pam Falk and First Vice President Louis Charbonneau of Reuters at a meeting where Inner City Press said loudly, “You are on the record” and Falk said “he's going to report this.” Audio here.

  Inner City Press raised this false charge directly to DPI chief Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal on the morning of March 15, as reported on this site. Amazingly, it was Dujarric who responded, saying “Peter asked me to respond.”

  As noted by Inner City Press on March 16 as an analogy, this is like a Corrections Commissioner sending a complaint against a warden who lets a gang shank an inmate -- back to the very same warden.

   Who knew, two days after this article, that the response would be a raid on Inner City Press' office? Inner City Press expressed its outrage to the DPI official on the scene, and to UN Security (one of whom threatened that Inner City Press would lose its badge to enter the UN). And, hours later, still nothing from the top of DPI.

   Would the raid be used to throw Inner City Press out? Why was it done? What protections if any are in place? What is the role of Ban Ki-moon? What is happened to the UN? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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