By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, November 22, more (NYT) here -- When the International Press Freedom Awards were given on November 22 at the Waldorf Astoria, only three of the four awardees could be present. Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, is still imprisoned by the al-Sisi government.
Three avenues east of the Waldorf at the United Nations, one of al-Sisi's state media Akhbar al Yom is being awarded the longtime work space of investigative Inner City Press, which outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his head of Public Information Cristina Gallach ousted and evicted earlier this year.
For nine months, Inner City Press has only been allowed to cover UN General Assembly events when accompanied by a minder, often unavailable or withdrawn in the middle of reporting.
The UN Secretariat's ambivalent stance to press freedom -- Ban Ki-moon has for example not taken any public question at UN headquarters in more than a month -- has been raised to the IPFA's sponsor, the Committee to Protect Journalists.
To the surprise of some, and ironic now when compared to CPJ's Trump statements, CPJ did not challenge the UN Secretariat as for example the DC-based Government Accountability Project did. CPJ said told Inner City Press that it only works on cases of life and death.
Now that CPJ has become even closed to - accredited in - the United Nations, perhaps they will do more. For now, beyond Shakwan CPJ has given awards to Can Dundar, Malini Subramaniam and Oscar Martinez of the online El Faro in El Salvador. It'd be nice, too, to hear of Jean Bigirimana in Burundi, for example. Watch this site.