Sunday, August 28, 2016

As CPJ Cites Attacks on Press in India, Ban's Son in Law Siddarth Chatterjee Urged Censorship Of UN Nepotism

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, August 28 -- As press freedom issues in India are taken up by the Committee to Protect Journalists, recently accredited to the UN, the censorship demands of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee provide yet another example of hypocrisy.
  When Inner City Press first reported on Chatterjee's rise through the UN during his father in law's tenure, and the Indian media picked up on the story, Chatterjee made threats to get the story removed from the Internet. Censorship, it seems, runs in the family.
  Now CPJ, which declined to criticize or even look into Ban Ki-moon's ouster and eviction of the investigative Press at the UN earlier this year, has issued this report, which we link to here. 
It's easier for CPJ to look far away, as to Egypt, than right in the UN, where state media Akhbar Al Yom is being given Inner City Press' long time shared office, despite never coming it to the UN. 
It's that Akhbar Al Yom's representative, Sanaa Youssef, is a former president of the UN Correspondents Association, with which despite its role in the Press' 2016 ouster and eviction CPJ is slated to partner withbehind closed door again next month. Such an event could easily be held in the UN Press Briefing Room, which despite the strange eviction of the Press from on January 29, 2016, is generally open to the media. We'll have more on all this - for now, in fairness, CPJ's report, half an hour after it came out from under embargo, here.
Under Ban, the UN has become so lawless that Ban's son-in-law Siddharth Chatterjee was just named UN Resident Representative in Kenya without Ban recusing himself.  Inner City Press reported and asked about this on August 25. On August 26, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed that Ban had not recused himself, had in fact signed the letter giving his own son in law the job, see below.
 How is this acceptable in an international organization? Or this: Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo is a UN official allowed to be on the boards of directors of Standard Chartered, which has UN banking contracts, and Doosan which makes sales to countries Han gives “UN” speeches to.
   On August 25, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban had recused himself from any role in his son-in-law's promotion, video here.
Inner City Press: Mr. Chatterjee was named the UN representative in Kenya.  So I wanted to know, what’s the process for the naming of a resident representative?  And given this he’s the son-in-law of the Secretary-General, was there any recusal made?  I’m not saying he’s not qualified.  I’m not saying he’s not a long-time official.  I’m just wondering what is the process…[inaudible]… for someone being named…
Spokesman:  The regular process was used.  The fact that he is, indeed, the son-in-law of the Secretary-General, I think, does not take away anything from his very strong service over the years…
Inner City Press: I’m asking about the process.
Spokesman:  Thank you.
Dujarric's only response is that Chatterjee is qualified. That was not the question. After Inner City Press highlighted this, Ban's spokesman Dujarric returned on August 26 with a "supplemental" statement, which still confirmed that Ban had not recused himself, had in fact signed the approval of his own son in law for the promotion. Video here. From the UN Transcript: 
Spokesman Dujarric: I also just wanted to give you a little bit more details on the issue you had raised yesterday with Mr. Chatterjee and expand on what I'd said.  Mr. Chatterjee was chosen through the regular process which is basically that the candidates are chosen by an interagency advisory panel which… which does not… and especially in this case… did not involve the Secretary-General.  I think he has been fully aware of the situation and has kept well away from the selection process.  For RCs, the candidates are chosen and recommended by the interagency panel.  The name of the recommended candidate is then given to the Secretary-General to sign off on.  He does not involve himself… and as I said, especially in this case… involve himself in the selection… in the selection process.  And I would just, again, reiterate Mr. Chatterjee's, I think, very strong qualifications in his career with ICRC and the UN over the years.

Inner City Press: I looked into it, too.  It seemed like they sent it to the UNDG Chair and the Secretary-General.  That's why I was asking yesterday.

Spokesman:  No, I understand.  The Secretary-General… the Secretary-General is very aware of the sensitivities of this case and has stayed well away from it.  The final signature… because the way this works is the Resident Coordinator represents the UN, and it needs the agreement of the host country.  So, the letter of appointment, in a sense, has to be signed by the Secretary-General.  But, his name is given to him by the interagency panel.

ICP Question:  Can I ask you one other?

Spokesman:  I’ll come back to you.  Video here.
Nor have the questions about Han Seung-soo, who refuses Ban's supposed call for public financial disclosure, been answered.
  Instead, Inner City Press which has asked about each of Chatterjee's promotions though the UN system under Ban (for example to and from UNOPS including censorship by the son in law, like Ban) and in the past ten months about Ban's and his head of communications Cristina Gallach's links with the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal, was ousted from the UN in February 2016 (audio here) and had its investigative files evicted onto First Avenue in April (video here)NYT here.
   Since then Inner City Press has been BANned from covering UN events on the second floor unless it has a minder which stays with it all the time; sometime Inner City Press is told there are not enough minders, and coverage is entirely prohibited. This is censorship under Ban Ki-moon.
The UN has been asked why it evicted Inner City Press by, among others, the Government Accountability Project, the UN Special Rapporteurs of Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders(to whom Gallach provided a false statement two months later about an altercation that never occurred), the SFRC (the UN's response quotes Dujarric) and by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta (to whom Gallach falsely claimed that Inner City Press is not not being restricted), and in this petition to Ban
But the censorship continues.
.@UN Sec Gen Mr Ban Ki Moon & his wife Ms Ban meeting with the UN Country Teams,  &  + UN Agencies
Gallach's DPI is giving Inner City Press' long time shared office to an Egypt state media, Akhbar Al Yom, whose UN representative Sanaa Youssef rarely comes to the UN, and never asks questions - Dujarric refused to confirm this obvious fact, saying he "does not take attendance" -- but who is a former president of the Ban-friendly UN Correspondents Association. 

Inner City Press put the question of recusal to Ban's spokesman Dujarric entirely civilly, without (there) calling into question Chatterjee's qualification or history (including in Sri Lanka, to which Ban Ki-moon is ironically headed for a visit). Watch this site.