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Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

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Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

For UN General Assembly Week, List Here, Insiders Hog Access, Plant Plaque, Pay to Play

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 15 – The UN is both unprepared and unfair in the run-up to the 72nd General Assembly high level week, now upon us, to start with US President Trump, Ambassador Nikki Haley and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the morning of September 18 in the UN's ECOSOC Chamber. September. Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has repeatedly said he will distribute a list of meetings and bilaterals of his boss, his third Secretary General in a row, Antonio Guterres. As of the evening of Friday, September 15 it has not happened. Dujarric tried to limit his "background" briefing at 10 am on September 15 only to his friends in the UN Correspondents Association, a group which accepted advertising funds from Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's South South News then provided the venue for Ng's photos with Dujarric's previous boss Ban Ki-moon. Now several disgusted UNCA members have forwarded Inner City Press this UNCA bragging, how UNCA has negotiated to exclude the vast majority of journalists covering UNGA from access to the Conference Building: the UNCA members "have access to B1 area with secondary passes AND without cameras...The UNCA chair in the Press Briefing Room now has a plaque alerting visiting media that the seat is reserved." Way to try to let the "visiting media" and the UN-based media which covers corruption know who you think is boss. The bragging concludes, "As in previous years an email was sent to Lt. Eugene Whyte with the NYPD containing the list of the broadcasters who have paid for a spot / fiber connection on Press Island so that media outlets without NYPD passes have access. They are:
TIMA // EUROVISION // CBS // SPHYNX // CCTV // AL JAZEERA // CBC // CNN // BBC //AL ARABIYA // AP // XINHUA // NHK // VOA. Thank you for your attention, UNCA Access, Space and Security Committee" including Sherwin Bryce-Pease, Meilssa Kent,
Nabil Abi Saab, Giampaolo Pioli." This information is sent only to people who pay money. At a background briefing on September 8, a UN Department of Public Information official told Inner City Press that the current nearly-useless wifi Internet “should” be fixed in time, and that “there will be a secondary pass for RC to go to basement area, 1B, limited to resident correspondents” - a group of less than 200 of the several thousand journalist the UN says are coming.

Inner City Press asked, Why are these passes limited in that way? The UN official said, “That's the arrangement with Security and with the UNCA [UN Correspondents Association] because we have to find some distinction.”

So the UN let a group of at most 200 insiders limit the access of thousands of other journalists, with no transparency. This Department of Public Information has been headless since April 1; New York Times journalist Alison Smale was named by Secretary General Antonio Guterres as replacement but has apparently not arrived: she has not answered e-mailed questions about these elitist “distinctions.” Actually, the 200 UNCA insiders include numerous rarely seen state media, for example Akhbar al Yom from Sisi's Egypt, making the “distinction” all the more telling.

Similarly, when Inner City Press was for assurance that at least the UN Press Briefing Room would be open to all journalists, the UN official said while missions are told that, there is no guarantee, the Media Accreditation office does not make the bookings. Those are done by the UN Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, who has a history as noted by the Free UN Coalition for Access of "lending" the UN Press Briefing Room to the president of his native France, and to UNCA, evicting the Press which tried to cover the event with Periscope.

The UN is closing in on itself, while bragging about all the important people coming to see it. The reformed needed at the UN go well beyond those alluded to in the pre-signed outcome document of the September 18 event. That reform event, tellingly, is not even mentioned on the UN's list so far of UNGA72 events:

12 September: Opening of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly (Preliminary list of items in the provisional agenda);

FUNCA: US event on UN Reform, 9:30 am, ECOSOC (Trump, Haley, Guterres);

18 September: High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse;

19-25 September: General Debate of the General Assembly 72nd Session;

FUNCA: September 19, Heads of State luncheon (Inner City Press will cover);

September 19: Central African Republic meeting, CR 3, 4:15-6:15, stakeout after;

20 September: Signing Ceremony of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;

20 September: Security Council High Level Meeting: Reform of UN peacekeeping, implementation and follow-up;

FUNCA: September 20: on Mali, CR 4, open 3:30 to 4;

September 21, South South 4-6 pm, CR 8 - no press (!)

September 22 8 am CR 5, Yemen;

Septmeber 22, 3-5, ECOSOC, Sierra Leone and Costa Rica (ask them);

26 September: High-level plenary meeting to promote and commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons;

27-28 September: High -level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (resolution 71/287).

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