By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 15 -- Like many independent media, Inner City Press publishes its coverage not only on its website but on a number of third party platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Scribd and SoundCloud. YouTube is owned by Google, and like its parent allows publishes to monetize their material with advertisements.
But do YouTube and Google behind it engage in censorship?
This week, in the midst of Inner City Press' fight against the eviction of its shared office in the United Nations while it is asking questions about the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case as relates not only to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon but also Under Secretary General for Communications Cristina Gallach, Inner City Press received emails from YouTube that its videos could no longer be monetized.
The emails said “We didn't approve your video(s) for monetization because the content in your video(s) or video details may not be advertiser-friendly.... Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown... We depend on our user community to flag inappropriate videos to us for our review.”
But they are video of questions and answers (sometimes) at the UN, of protests in the streets of New York, etc. Inner City Press has written, more than 24 hours ago, from to Monetization then to Press [at] YouTube.com:
“The videos you are saying are “not advertiser-friendly” are videos of media questions and answers with United Nations spokespeople and diplomats. They are news. The message sent yesterday and today said “you can request an additional review below” - this is a request for review. Look at the videos: they are Q&As in the UN Press Briefing Room.
This is also a request to be informed if it was any complaint to YouTube / Google which triggered this denial of monetization, and if so if it came from the UN or any[one else.]
I note that Reuters, got one of its anti-Press emails to the UN banned from Google Search with a frivolous DMCA filing:https://www.chillingeffects.org/notices/1457339# now [HRW]https://lumendatabase.org/notices/1457339#
Please confirm receipt and review the above and restore monetization, answering the question. Google and YouTube should not be involved in any form of censorship, including the denial of monetization of news footage.
Here are some of the video now denied monetization:
- "ICP Asks UN of South Sudan Attacks, Trapped in Apartments, Drennan Memo, Withheld Malakal Reports"
- "ICP Asks French PR Delattre About Burundi Talks & Killing, UK @MatthewRycroft1 of Yemen Draft"
- "ICP Asks UK Matthew Rycroft About Al Shabaab Taking Over Marka; On A Middle East PRST, Burundi Recap"
- "ICP Asks Ban's Spox of Impunity in Sri Lanka & Haiti, Meeting Bashir, S. China Sea, S. South News"
- "On Burundi, ICP Asked US Amb Power of Rejection of AU Deployment, She Hopes Not Final Answer"
- "ICP Asked UNSC Prez Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta of Egypt About Yemen Talks, Western Sahara and AU"
- "ICP Asks UN Spokesman About US Police Killings of #PhilandoCastile and #AltonSterling; UN Censorship"
- "On Syria, ICP Ask NZ PR If Group Not On UN List Car Bombed, Isn't It Terrorism? He: Hypothetical"
- "ICP Asked Ali Rezaian about Jason Rezaian, If US Did Enough, If UN Can or Will Do Anything"
- "ICP asks Canada's Bennett Of Attawapiskat, Roy of Ladsous' DPKO's Use of Bangladesh Troops"
- "ICP Asks UN Spox of Burundi Rapes & Deployments to CAR, No Updates, Peacekeeping & Sri Lanka"
- "At UN, As Israel PR Danon Speaks of Palestinian “Hate Toys,” Reuters Correspondent Hold One Up"
- "On UN Rapes, ICP Asks Khare of Light Penalties for Statutory Rape, Where is #Ladsous?"
- "ICP Asks Roed-Larsen Of Part-time UN Posts, Who'll Get His on Lebanon - Feltman, It Seems"
- "On Libya, ICP Asked UN Kobler of Heftar, Italian Trainers & Arms Embargo, Leon Revolving Door"
- "ICP Asked Saudi PR of US Criticism of Executions, al Nimr, Here's UK Matthew Rycroft on UNSC Process"
- "On S Sudan, ICP Asks Ban Ki-moon Why Closed Wau Gates on IDPs, When Malakal Report Public, No Answer"
- "On South Sudan, ICP Asks US Power About Paul Malong, French PR of 7 Chinese Peacekeepers Injured"
- "On Syria, ICP Asks UNODA's Kim Won-soo Of Proposal on Non-State Actors' & Chemical Weapons"
- "ICP Asks UN of Ban's Praise of Comfort Women Settlement, View on Burundi Talks, Who Pays His Travel"
- "ICP Asks UN Counter-Terrorism Center of Boko Haram Victims, Who Are UNCTC's Non-Saudi Donors?"
- "On Syria, ICP Asks UK Matthew Rycroft If Concerned Nusra May Have/Use MANPADS; If Chapter 7 Draft"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks UN's Ging About Saudi Diverted Ship, Threats to Aid Workers, Control of Aid"
- "ICP Asks US Power of Saudi Use of Sudan Troops in Yemen, UN Report on Sexual Abuse in CAR"
- "ICP Asks UNRWA's Krähenbühl About Yarmouk & ISIS, Food Price Indexing and Health Care in Lebanon"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks UN Why Envoy IOCA Proposes Hadi, GPC & Houthis not talk to media, Leak"
- "On Burundi, ICP Asks Uruguay VM Cancela of Ladsous Memo, Can't or Won't Stop a Genocide, Answer Here"
- "On S Sudan, ICP Asks UNSC's #JPNpres of Arms Embargo, Which Troops, Ladsous & Power About Malong"
- "ICP Asks UK Rycroft How Healthcare & Armed Conflict Resolution Applies in Yemen, Of Suspended Talks"
- "ICP Asks UN's Adama Dieng About Benin Prez Cancelling Visit to Burundi, Genocide and Yazadis, ISIL"
- "ICP Asks Venezuela PR Ramirez About War Crimes in Yemen, Continued Sanctions on Eritrea"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks UN Envoy About What PR Said of WFP Ship (Iran Military Supplies), Where Team Is"
- "On North Korea, China's Liu Says “Greatly Concerned,” Working With UNSC, Entry to French Speech"
- "ICP Asks UN of Saudi End of Yemen “Ceasefire,” If Ban Will Call UAE, Bahrain, Sudan: Cut Iran Ties"
- "Pregunta a Rafael Ramirez de Venezuela Acerca de #Yemen y #Eritrea, Sanciones"
- "On Syria, ICP Asked Jordan PR Kawar If Ahrar al-Sham Is Reviewed in Jordan, She Nods, Can't Say More"
- "On North Korea Launch, UNSC Prez Wants Statement, Coy on Colombia, ICP on Ban DPRK"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks UN of US-Made Cluster Bombs Dropped by Saudi on Sana'a, Envoy's One-Sided Visits"
- "On Colombia, ICP Asks FM Holguin About Urabeños & Who'll Head UN Observer Mission (En Espanol)"
- "ICP asks UN About Yemen, Burundi, Police to S Sudan, Cover Up in Myanmar, Ban Ki-moon & S Korea"
- "ICP Asks Iraq FM If Use of Force to Defend, Asks Turkey PR Why Won't Leave on Request"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks of OHCHR Rep Deemed “Non Grata,” UN Checks All It Flies Into Sana'a With Hadi?"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asks UN Spox of Saudi Airstrikes on Sana'a During Swiss Talks, As Envoy Plays for Time"
- "ICP Asks Venezuela FM Delcy Rodriguez About Syria and Yemen, Who Dominates UN DPKO & DPA Posts"
- "On Iraq, ICP asks UN's Grande of White Flags in Fallujah, Plans for Mosul: 850,000 To Be Displaced?"
- "As Burundi Gov Has UN Send DPKO Payments to Bank in Paris, ICP Asks Of Controls, Offshore Banks?"
- "ICP Asks Turkey PR Cevik of Syria Talks, Those in Saudi, If Killers Pilot On Terrorist List"
- "On Yemen, ICP Asked Uruguay VM Cancela of Civilians Hit by Saudi Strikes in Yemen, He on Hospitals"
- "On S Sudan, ICP Asks Angola PR Of Attack Copters, US Power Of Malong, France of 7 Chinese Injured"
- "On N. Korea, ICP Asks Japan's PR of Ban's Moves to Visit DPRK, He Stresses Human Rights, Right Time"
- "UK Matthew Rycroft Welcomes Microsoft into UNSC, Q of Counter-Terrorism Used to Censor In the Air"
- "ICP Asks UN About Dadaab and Kakuma Camps, DSG Eliasson Says It's Not About Sending Back Refugees"
- "On Syria Talks, ICP Asks Why Kurdish PYD Excluded: UNSC Prez & Russia Answer, France Walks Away"
- "For UNSC July Under Japan, ICP Asks Of W Sahara & Burundi; Also DPRK & South China Sea"
- "ICP Asks Saudi PR Why Ended Yemen “Ceasefire,” Executed Al-Nimr, He Says Terrorist, No US Criticism"
- "ICP Asks UN Spox of TANZBATT Lying to DRC GoE, UNHCR Censoring Burundi Refugees, Libya Chaos"
- "On Paused Syria Talks, UK Rycroft Blames Russia, ICP Asks (3x) of Ban's “Petty Procedural Issues,”"
- "On South Sudan, ICP Asks US Power About Kiir's 28 State Plan, UNMISS Not Reporting Violations"
- "ICP Asks UN Spox Of Ng Funds to DPI, Yemen, UN Rapes & Sri Lanka Protest & White Flag Killings"
- "On S. Sudan, After ICP Reported on Yambio Fighting, Asks UN of Arrest of frmr Commish Bakote"
- "On S Sudan, ICP Asks Ladsous & Power of Malong, Angola Of Copters, France of 7 Chinese Injured"
Google on March 10 announced on its front page, "Supporting the UN Global Goals." But does Google know of the UN's recent descent into outright, physical censorship? See below; petition here.
Actually, there is a history with Google, and the UN. In 2009, theGovernment Accountability Project criticized Google for Banning Inner City Press from Google News, here.
In 2013, Google granted a spurious censorship request from Reuters' UN bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, to block from Search a leaked copy of his anti-Inner City Press missive to the UN's Stephane Dujarric, now the spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon. DMCA notice here; leaked email here.
But outright physical censorship, tossing an investigative journalaist on the street on the flimsiest of pretexts, on a mere two hours' notice? The decision was by the UN Department of Public Information, with which Google partners. Maybe Google should Google it - we'll have more on this.
We too support the GOALS of the UN. But there is a responsibility, particularly from a behemoth like Google, to at least try to ensure that the goals are lived up to, not only in Headquarters but for example in the Central African Republic where UN peacekeepers rape and cover up, and in Haiti where the UN killed 10,000 plus with cholera and paid not a dcent. We'll have more on this too.
After Inner City Press was summarily ejected from the UN, which it has covered for 10 years, on February 19 (audio here), the ostensibly deciding official Cristina Gallach told Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta, who contacted her to oppose her arbitrary decision, that Inner City Press would still be able to cover the UN.
Now Gallach, even having been informed that Inner City Press can no longer for example go to the second floor of the UN Conference Building and speak with diplomats entering and exiting meetings like today's on UN Security Council reform, repeats the same position to others - as does Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson, see below.
Gallach wrote, "Mr Lee has a Press accreditation that allows him to cover all events in the UN, as the rest of accredited journalists." She even referred to "total access."
This is false.
For example, the March 9, 2016 General Assembly meeting on Security Council reform was "closed." But those with Resident Correspondent accreditation, which Gallach stripped from Inner City Press without any due process and only two hours notice on February 19, could use their pass to swipe through the turnstile on the second floor and stakeout outside the meeting, speaking with diplomats.
Inner City Press cannot - its new restricted pass does not open the second floor turnstile. It has been Banned from this type of coverage.
It was precisely by staking out outside "Closed" meetings that Inner City Press got and covered such stories as Sri Lankan alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva being one of Ban Ki-moon's Senior Advisers on Peacekeeping. Staking out closed meetings of the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping, Inner City Press quoted even South Asian ambassadors on what an outrage it was.
Now Inner City Press is Banned from such coverage, and the UN Department of Public "Information" is misleading those who contact it.
At the March 9 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about what Gallach had said,full YouTube here, Vine here and here, from the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: Beyond the letter from the Northern Provincial Council to Secretary-General Ban, Cristina Gallach of DPI [Department of Public Information] has received a letter from a group called the Tamil Sangam, of diaspora Tamils. And the reason I'm asking you is the following: They've sent me her response to them. They raised a number of issues about Sri Lanka coverage, UN's performance in Sri Lanka, and she wrote back and said: "I want to firmly clarify that Mr. Lee has total access at the UN." And since that's actually not the case, since I can't go through the turnstile on the second…
Deputy Spokesman Haq: That is the case.
Inner City Press: No, it's not. I can't cover ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council]. I can't cover Trusteeship. I'm telling you…
Deputy Spokesman Haq: Matthew, you have access. We're standing in a briefing room in the United Nations right now. You’re asking…
Inner City Press: She said "total access", "total access", So let me ask you…
Deputy Spokesman: You can go anywhere that the other reporters [can].
Inner City Press: No, I can't. What about the 2nd Floor of the conference building? This pass doesn't work, and I'm told by Security I cannot go there. So, I'm asking you, what did she mean by "total access"?
Deputy Spokesman Haq: You can go to the Security Council stakeout or any other public area.
Inner City Press: This is not the case. Come with me…
Deputy Spokesman Haq: Matthew, I used to have a non-resident pass many, many, many years ago, and I used to go all the areas.
Inner City Press: They didn't used to have a glass turnstile there. And I'm also told to leave the building at 7 pm, that if I leave the building after 7 pm, I can't come back into it no matter what work I'm doing. Is that the case?
Deputy Spokesman Haq: Matthew, as far as I'm aware, you have the time to go about the work that you need to do. Joe?
Inner City Press: I'm totally contesting it, totally.
Again, Inner City Press is as of March 8 not allowed to cover anything on the second floor of the UN conference building (ECOSOC, Trusteeship Council), cannot effectively edit videos of UN Q&A, and must leave the building by 7 pm. These are restrictions.
But USG Gallach continues to repeat the mantra that reducing the Press' ability to do journalism at the UN by 60% is fine. A group wrote to her that
"it is paramount importance that journalists of Mr. Lee's caliber continue to monitor the UN system and we firmly stand behind him. We urge you to resolve the dispute with him and restore to Mr. Lee his Resident Correspondent accreditation and ICP's long-time office which he uses to do his journalistic work. We do not find the punishment in your February 19 letter to be proportionate even to what it's claimed he did: seek to cover an even in the UN's own Press Briefing Room. Why was that meeting in that UN Press Briefing Room anyway, if it was 'private'?"
This question -- who "lent' the UN Press Briefing Room to a group connected to the very UN bribery scandal discussed on March 8 in the UN Budget Committee, here, and why -- has yet to be answered. Instead, USG Gallach from her phone at 10 pm, after a Kazakhstan event, robo-replied:
"I can firmly clarify to you that Mr Lee has a press pass that allows him total access to press conferences, media stake outs and press conferences in the UN building. I am convinced that the coverage about the issues you care most [sic] is totally will be not at all affected."
That is FALSE. Inner City Press is now restricted from the entire second floor of the UN conference building, must leave the building by 7 pm, cannot conduct interviews or edit videos in its long time shared office - for trying to cover a meeting, in the Press Briefing Room, of an entity also connected by South South to the UN bribery scandal?Petition here.
USG Gallach's response was cc-ed to Ban's spokesman Dujarric, who cannot claim to not know the restrictions on the pass Inner City Press has been, without due process, confined to. On March 8 he said, we will not characterize it, "People are free to demonstrate." (Vine here.)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose office has confirmed receipt of at least three petitions to reverse Gallach's order, and seenprotests of the UN in for example Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka for ousting Inner City Press, said these words in Baden-Baden, Germany on March 7:
"journalists face growing efforts to silence their voices – through harassment, censorship and attacks. Journalists are not criminals. But they are often mistreated."
Note: on February 19, Inner City Press was physically ousted from the UN Security Council stakeout where it was writing up the evening's Syria meeting and was told "you are a trespasser" in the UN and that it would be handed over to NYPD. Audio here.
"During the past nine years as Secretary-General, I have been working hard to defend the press."
Well, the above happened on February 19, and restrictions remain in place with no right to appeal, and no due process. Ban and his senior advisers have been informed of it.
On February 26 the Government Accountability Project, which defends whistleblowers, wrote to the US Mission to the UN, Ambassador of Management and Reform Isobel Coleman, to ask the US to ensure Inner City Press gets back its office and Resident Correspondent's pass. GAP letter here.
GAP's Beatrice Edwards cited the UN's lack of due process and of rules, and the seeming retaliation against Inner City Press for its reporting. (There's also the physical ouster of Inner City Press, audio here.) Other missions have openly taken action: what will the US Mission do?
On February 29, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric another question about UN - this time DPI - seeming corruption, and about GAP's letter, Video here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I'd asked you previously about South-South News, which is pretty much in… is in this indictment of Mr. [Francis] Lorenzo and Mr. Ng Lap Seng as a conduit for funds for the alleged bribery at the UN, why its… its footage and a number of its pieces are included in UNTV in an archive, and I checked today. They're still there.
I wanted to know, since there's no other med… non-UN media that I can find that has its material inside that archive, why is that, and why does it remain to be the case, given the fact that it's named as a vehicle for bribery?
Spokesman Dujarric: Obviously, I think that's a question you can address to my colleagues in DPI.
Inner City Press: Okay. They're not communicating too well.
Spokesman: [Calls on another.]
Inner City Press: Again, I'll keep it very short, but I wanted to ask you, the Government Accountability Project, which you know, which represented Mr. [Anders] Kompass and other UN whistle-blowers, has issued a letter on Friday in which they say… they call for… I guess I'll put it in personal terms… for my resident correspondent pass to be returned and my office. And they say the action was retaliatory in response to independent critical journalism. I'd like to know what your response to this respected group reaching that conclusion is.
Spokesman: My simple response would be no, and I'm sure they will get a response from whoever they addressed the letter to.
Meanwhile in defense of Ban and Gallach, anonymous troll account has taken to tweeting, now at Spanish journalists, that Gallach is fine and didn't throw Inner City Press out of the UN on two hours notice without once speaking to it. But those are the fact. Among the new troll account's followers are Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric and four UNCA board members, plus Reuters bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, who has a history with this, see here.
Because as a working journalist it needed access to cover the February 25 UN Security Council meeting about North Korea, and only in connection with filing a lawyer's letter telling Gallach and the UN not to touch Inner City Press' office or files, Inner City Press late morning entered the UN with a so-called "Green P" non-resident correspondents pass.
At the day's noon briefing, after asking of Burundi, Western Sahara, Darfur and the UN corruption scandals, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric two simple question, to which he said #AskGallach. From the UN transcript.
Wait - so the UN has no protocols on the use of force? Or DPI's Gallach is in charge of the use of force, and ordered it? How can the UN and USG Gallach be so contemptuous to the most basic forms of due process?
Inner City Press is opposing all this.
And so now are a range of people from around the world, who have signed a petition to immediately restore Inner City Press to the UN Resident Correspondent accreditation it had for nine years until, without any due process, the UN pass was physically torn from its chest as UN Security throw its laptop onto the sidewalk in front of the UN (also owned by the UN and immunity from US law including the First Amendment).
Here are just some of the comments of those signing the petition directed to Ban Ki-moon:
UN cover-up artists are taking advantage of the dying months of Ban Ki-moon's tenure to remove a thorn in their side, because they are worried the new SG won't want to start out with a fight. -James Bone, Shelter Island Heights, NY
ICP has been the only voice for the oppressed in #Burundi, #Haiti & #Yemen at #UN. -Eloge Tinya, Lagos, Nigeria
ICP asked questions that will bring clarity on the agreement the Prime Minister of Dominica signed in Macau on August 25, 2015 together with Ng Lap Seng and a UN official. -Hon. Hector John, Salisbury, Dominica
I am signing for UN to restore Matthew Lee Inner City Press right to access to the UN as a Resident Correspondent to question authorities because it is the fundamental of free speech as the UN preaches to other countries it must first practice itself to set example. -Smret Kibrom, San Gallo, Switzerland
Freedom of press. -Prem Kumar, India
innercitypress defends the human rights of Burundians and help to avoid genocide, please free innercitypress! - MICHAEL Tim, London, United Kingdom
I'm signing because the barring of access to Mr. Lee appears to be at worst motivated by a reluctance to engage with and continue to receive the probing questions he asks, and at best the result of a petty personal vendetta based on unprofessional antipathy towards Mr. Lee by the 'respectable' wing of the United Nations press corps. -Marlon Ettinger, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
I am signing this petition for Matthew Russell Lee and Inner City Press be restored to the shared UN office and Resident Correspondent accreditation they have had for eight years prior to this pretextual incident. It also requests, as does the Free UN Coalition for Access that Matthew co-founded, that an investigation be launched into how all of this occurred. Moreover to call for aggressive investigative journalism at the UN and to tell the leaders of the UN that the UN, too, must live up to the principles of due process and freedom of the press. -Martha Fassil, New York, NY
Han er en journalist som forteller sannheten til verden.
Mussie Tesfay, Oslo, Norway
UN should walk the talk. Practice what you preach - rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression, of press. Reinstate ICP Mathew Russell Lee to full resident reporter. -Seble Ephrem, London, United Kingdom
Incredible. This banning is the exact opposite of the transparency and accountability that the UN should be defending for all institutions. This must be reversed. Denis Rancourt, Ottawa, Canada
ICP is the most reliable source of information at the UN. The other corporate media are controlled by the special interest groups. Thus their journalistic integrity is always suspect. ICP is voice of the voiceless - of course unlike the UN and its sponsors and financiers. -tsehaie mahary, edmonton, Canada
I express my solidarity with Mathew, God bless you friend
Mohamed MAYARA, El Aaiun, Western Sahara
Matthew Lee has been a lone voice asking the difficult questions in the UN press gallery. -Martin Field, Geneva, Switzerland
I have seen Matthew only defending the truth. He is a journalist with a genuine journalist ethics. He is also the one of the most intelligent and courageous journalist. He is a model how other journalist should be. He should be given a noble prize for what he does not get banned from the UN. -Yacob Woldehiwot, London, United Kingdom
The UN cannot be dismissive of new media as people get their news from new media.The UN cannot pick and choose media persons according to their whims and fancies. -soraya patel, India
Shame on UN. -ibrahim alhaifi, Sanaa, Yemen
I believe this is censorship of the press. Shameful. -Douglas Smith, New York, NY
For Truth & Transparency, there must always be those who Question more. -Auet Melache, Bolton, United Kingdom
I am signing because UN is being unfair and need to take some responsibility. -Lynda Charles, Boynton Beach, FL
He's credible and follows the ethics of journalism to the fullest. -Amanuel Tseggai, Stone Mountain, GA
We need the alternative,independent and investigative media to be present everywhere. -Marja Konttila, Solna, Sweden
I demand the U.N. unconditionally and ASAP to restore access to Inner City Press`Matthew Russell Lee to the U.N. as a Resident Correspondent. -johannes abraham, Germany
InnerCity Press has been very professional and a life saver. His reports on different issues around the world helped uncover certain hidden truths. If Ban was in #Burundi 2 days ago, I can say it is mainly because of his persistence of bringing Burundi to light from the repression of de facto president
Manirambona Juma, Kirundo, Burundi
Matthew Russell Lee, founder of the Inner City Press, is a veteran investigative journalist I have relied upon on UN news for the past six years. He is truthful, and pursues truth in reporting tenaciously and with integrity. We need more journalists like him at the UN to keep us informed. He and his Inner City Press must be reinstated as a fully accredited resident journalist to the UN. -Elias Amare, San Rafael, CA
Does the UN have something to hide? The UN is also obligated by the same principles and norms it preaches. I demand the UN to reinstate Matthew Russell Lee to his desk so he can do what he does best- pure journalism. He is the only honest journalist at the UN compound and being the voice of the voiceless. -Daniel Berhe, Seattle, WA
I respectively ask UNSG and Mr Ban ki-moon to return Matt to his post as a dedicated reporter in the UN. I have a huge respect for the guy. It would be a travesty of justice if a reporter like matt is out the office of the biggest office in the world when we need a reporter of such kind. -Kibrom tekeste, berkeley, CA
The UN repeatedly acts like human rights protections apply to everyone but themselves. -Betsey Chance, Cambridge, MA
Matthew is the only bona fide journalist reporting on UN. He alone is rectifying the defects created by system of diplomatic immunity. Why makes his job harder? Do you have something to hide from him? He makes UN a more acceptable organization and indeed, by genuinely reporting he makes this world a better place. -T Chan, London, United Kingdom
I am signing for UN to restore Matthew Lee Inner City Press right to access to the UN as a Resident Correspondent to question authorities because it is the fundamental of free speech as the UN preaches to other countries it must first practice itself to set example.
Sara Haile, Alexandria, VA
Matthew Lee is, far and away, the hardest-working and most dogged of any journalist at the United Nations. His arbitrary expulsion is both outrageous and a reflection of the fact that things are not as they should be at the United Nations, and certainly not what YOU would expect. - alberto martin, New York, NY
I'm signing because I believe in the freedom of the press. I often reads Matthew Lee's work which reports on difficult topics and events that need covering and exposure. He should be reinstated at your earliest convenience.
Rebecca Myles, New York, NY
I'm signing because I'm an advocate for real, independent journalism and condemn the UN's decision to remove Inner City Press's access based on a nonsensical pretext! -Hermon Gebrai, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
I appreciate Inner City Press' persistent and prepared journalism at the United Nations. -Brian Concannon Jr., Marshfield, MA
Freedom of the press. -Luiz Rampelotto, New York, NY
The UN needs to be held to standards of openess, transparency and freedom of the press. -Samuel Horton, Silsden, United Kingdom
Lee should not have been expelled, it's a disgrace to the UN. -Richard Johnson, Potomac, MD
It's unfair to throw someone out like that with out hearing from his side of history. -Hermon Tsegay, Slough, United Kingdom
Such a crck down on media in an organization promoting freedom of speech and information is really awkward and clearly disgraceful and unacceptable. -Florent Nduwayo, Kibungo, Rwanda
This is another in a long line of incidents conclusively evidencing the UN's complete and utter disrespect for the laws of its HOST country, the US, in particular the 1st amendment!! UN IMMUNITY = IMPUNITY--END IT NOW!! Journalists are the ultimate whistleblowers, and I am well aware of how UN whistleblowers like Mr Lee are persecuted and suffer grievous harm at the hands of rogue UN officials. The treatment of Mr. Lee is an outrage.
How ironic this has happened just as the US House Committe on Foreign Relations is today, on 24 Feb, holding a hearing about the gross mistreatment of whistleblowers at the UN and WIPO. Congress must act now to cut off 15% of US appropriations to the UN this year on account of its failure to protect and encourage UN whistleblowers like Mr Lee, as provided for in US law, as it already did to WIPO!! -ted beacher, Geneva, Switzerland
ICP is doing a great job. UN should support,respect and promote free speech. -Kalu Thapa, Kathmandu, Nepal
There are more...
But the UN Correspondents Association, at least its 15 Executive Committee members, issued a February 22 statement in context fully supporting the throwing of Inner City Press into the street, the seizure of passport, the Banning, all of it. We wonder if these scribes' employers know about this.
For now we reiterate the obvious: the UN Press Briefing Room is presumptively open to all press. If Spokesman Dujarric, or DPI's Gallach, wants to lend it to their friends, at least provide a notice so journalists hungry for news don't get excluded and get nothing.