By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 26 – As the Egyptian government stepped up its crackdown on the media, blocking at least 21 news websites including the investigative Mada Masr, the Sisi-supporting media stayed quiet or participated. The silence is deafening from Akhbar al Yom to which UN Department of Public Information, now under Maher Nasser, is ghoulishly giving the long time UN work space of critical Inner City Press. Swiss Radio here. Akhbar al Yom's "correspondent" Sanaa Youssef has STILL not asked a single question in a year; she had not been seen for long before that.
The UN is violating one of its few stated rules, only in order to retaliate against the investigative Inner City Press, which has recently exposed UN Security cover ups, and UNSG Guterres' withholding of his own budget speech. Akhbar al Yom's lack of questions, lack of presence, is what DPI, and also holdover UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, seek to reward while hindering investigative journalism in the UN. It is a scam that must end. Here is the beginning of a series.
When the International Press Freedom Awards were given on November 22 at the Waldorf Astoria, only three of the four awardees could be present. Shawkan was and 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 eleven 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City Press has only been allowed to cover UN General Assembly events when accompanied by a minder, often unavailable or withdrawn in the middle of reporting.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 ever 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.