By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- As the UN's summit on refugees and migrants began, at a media stakeout misplaced and under-covered by the Department of Public Information Inner City Press asked the organizer, President of the General Assembly's 70th session Mogens Lykketoft, why seven non-governmental organizations had been BANned from participating. Periscope video here; UN letter here.
Not only were NGOs banned from the summit - under DPI, the investigative Press was evicted from the UN and now spends hours trying to enter, only to be watched over by Ban Ki-moon's minders while it reports on UN corruption leads.
On September 19, while a former UN official told Inner City Press about the stlll unreported corruption of Ban Ki-moon, a UN Security official insisted that Inner City Press be listened in on. Meanwhile Ban's spokesman, who colluded in the eviction, refused to answer the simplest questions.
Inner City Press asked, more than a day ago, who authored and paid for the vanity press book Ban is signing and giving to heads of state. No answer, even as the spokesman spun others on Ban's good works on Syria.
While Gallach's DPI confined non-favored journalists to a Media Center in which even drinking water was prohibited, water freely flowed up on the 38th floor. Across town CGO went one better, making it easier for journalists with apple chips, yogurt and tea or coffee.
In the day's last stakeout, Norway's foreign minister answered Inner City Press about Gaza finances. Three and a half jours later, the video was not on public UNTV, and the EZTV for media Ban likes was still not avilable to others.
Back on September 16, Lykketoft said, in essence, those are the (UN) rules. Inner City Press asked him if at least the identity of the countries who had done the blocking -- for example Morocco for Independent Diplomat -- could be named. No, he said. This is today's UN.
The Friday before UN General Assembly week starts in earnest, reporters at the UN were told of some of the upcoming meetings and how, despite restrictions, to cover them.
Inner City Press asked the head of the UN's Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach why DPI says the non-resident correspondents, the vast majority of journalists covering the UN, will be placed in basement Conference Room 1 where no only food and beverages but even water is not allowed.
Gallach's reply cited to “professionalism” and rules, both of which she invoked when she ousted and then evictedInner City Press from the UN earlier this year.
Ironically, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric less that an hour later explained having violated the rules (about those without cameras not attending photo ops) so that South Korean print journalists could witness Ban's speech to politicians visiting from Seoul.
The UN's rules are selectively implied, in this case to censor.
Last October 19, 2015 Inner City Press asked Gallachabout her attendance at the South South Awards of Ng Lap Seng, the Macau-based businessman under house arrest for bribery at the UN.
On September 16, Inner City Press asked Gallach about the since-released Office of Internal Oversight Services audit, which found that her DPI did not due diligence on events by Ng Lap Seng fundees.
Gallach said that the outside event - the case in Federal court - is being followed. So Inner City Press asked for her response to testimony in the case that South South News, which unlike Inner City Press the rule-invoking Gallachleft in its UN office despite or because of it not asking any questions at the UN, was named as a “conduit of bribery.” This, she did not answer.
After the briefing, which included film maker Richard Curtis whom Inner City Press asked about the Next SG race, Gallach's staffer asked for further information about the water(less) issue.
Inner City Press added the exclusion of non-resident correspondents from access to the UN's EZTV which shows more events than the UN webcast. See flier here of the Free UN Coalition for Access, also ejected and sign torn down under Gallach. What will change? We'll see. Watch this site.