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After UN Threatens ICP's Accreditation For Reporting What Officials Say on 38th Floor, Spox Won't Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 23 –  The UN delivered a threat to Inner City Press to “review” it accreditation on Friday afternoon at 5 pm. The UN official who signed the letter, when Inner City Press went to ask about the undefined violation of live-streaming Periscope video at a photo op by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, had already left, minutes after sending the threat. The letter concluded, "we would like to remind you that filming and recording on the 38th floor are limited to official photo opportunities, and recording conversations of others in the room is not permitted. It has been brought to our attention that you breached that rule recently. Please kindly take note that any further violation of the guidelines and established journalistic standards could lead to a review of your accreditation status." But when was this violation? On October 23, Inner City Press asked the UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, who refused to answer. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: If it's permissible to use… to broadcast, including via live broadcast, Periscope at photo ops on the 38th Floor, how does one prevent capturing the audio of UN officials who may speak during the photo op? And I ask because I received a threat to my accreditation for just that.  And so I need know what the rule is.  I went to MALU [Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit].  They weren't there.  Mr. [Maher Nasser] blocks me on Twitter.  So, now I want to know, how is it possible to threaten the accreditation of a media for… like I'm broadcasting here.  If somebody said something behind me, is it a violation that requires review of accreditation? How does it work? Spokesman:  Matthew, your issues with media accreditation need to be resolved with them, not with us.  Brenden, come on up." We'll have more on this. Inner City Press only begins its Periscope broadcast when Guterres' aide knocks on his closed office door to tell him the visitor is ready. What could so upset the UN to lead to this threat? The recent photo op with the most ambient noise and chatter by Guterres and others involved the swearing in of three Under Secretaries General, Vladimir Voronkov, USG for Counter-Terrorism, Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament, and Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator. How could one covering this extended photo op and censor out what UN officials were audibly saying? Periscope here; Inner City Press' photos on Alamy here. This threat is to accreditation and even short of that, such publication at Alamy: the message is, you can be thrown out or reviewed for some undefined, Kafka-esque "violation" at any photo op. Also present, representing the rarely seen USG Alison Smale, was D2 Maher Nasser, who on October 19 tweeted at Inner City Press to be less negative about the UN, then after apparently being embarrassed by what he had said by the UN Secretariat lobby stakeout position, misused DPI to threat Inner City Press' accreditation then blocked Inner City Press on Twitter. This is disgusting. During another photo op with Bangladesh's speaker of the National Parliament, Guterres forgot to go to shake hands until reminded, ICP Periscope here. Half an hour later, with Somalia, he forgot again, captured entirely legally by Inner City Press, here. That Periscope video was less than two minutes long, begun as Guterres entered the room (but went to the wrong side of the table.)  Embarrassment is not a legitimate justification for censorship. Before the photo op with Spain's Secretary of State, Guterres even after his door was knocked on delayed. On the appropriately launched Periscope - UNTV films even before the knock of Guterres' door - there was discussion of Guterres' reclusiveness and more. Some here. So, as one analyst now puts it, is it Guterres' vanity that led to the threat? Or DPI's assumption that he is vain and needs to be protected by Kafka-esque threats? We'll have more on this: given the intentional vagueness of the allegation, and that Maher Nasser now blocks Inner City Press on Twitter, we have no choice but to guess which Periscope drew their wrath and retaliation. This comes two days after Inner City Press asked Guterres about the UN inaction on threatened genocide in Cameroon, and the UN claimed Guterres hadn't heard the 15-second long question.  Recently at a photo op, Guterres' adviser on Cameroon Khassim Diagne spoke loudly. Inner City Press later reported, based on sourcing, that Diagne who was previously the representative to Cameroon for UNHCR, the UN refugee agency Guterres ran, speaks in favor of Cameroon's government. Is this letter a response to the reporting? Is it retaliation? Is it intimidation to stop reporting on this threatened genocide? We can't ask the complainant, Maher Nasser: after the threat was delivered, he blocked Inner City Pres on Twitter, here.

  It also comes after Alison Smale the head of the Department of Public Information which would “review” Inner City Press' accreditation has ignored three separate petitions from Inner City Press in the six weeks she has been in the job, urging her to remove restrictions on Inner City Press' reporting which hinder its coverage of the UN's performance in such crises as Yemen, Kenya, Myanmar, and the Central African Republic where Guterres travels next week, with Smale's DPI saying its coverage of the trip will be a test of its public relations ability. But the UN official who triggered the complaint is Maher Nasser, who filled in for Smale before she arrived.

UN's Letter Threatening to Review Inner City Press' Accreditation for Audio Report While Staking Out on Cam... by Matthew Russell Lee on Scribd

His complaint is that audio of what he said to Inner City Press as it staked out the elevators in the UN lobby openly recording, as it has for example with Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe, here, was similarly published

A UN “Public Information” official is complaining about an article, and abusing his position to threaten to review Inner City Press' accreditation. The UN has previously been called out for targeting Inner City Press, and for having no rules or due process. But the UN is entirely UNaccountable, impunity on censorship as, bigger picture, on the cholera it brought to Haiti. And, it seems, Antonio Guterres has not reformed or reversed anything. This threat is from an official involved in the last round of retaliation who told Inner City Press on Twitter to be less "negative" about the UN - amid inaction on the mass killing in Cameroon - and who allowed pro-UN hecking of Inner City Press' questions about the cholera the UN brought to Haiti and the Ng Lap Seng /John Ashe UN bribery scandal which resulted in six guilty verdicts. We'll have more on this.


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