Thursday, July 6, 2017

UN of Guterres & Mohammed Has No Press Protections, Partners & Parties With Press Evicters

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 6 – The UN has no rules protecting the rights of journalists to investigate and report on UN corruption without being evicted and restricted for their coverage. Despite not making any change to this since taking power, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed lists as her lone public appointment on July 6 “remarks at the launch of the 2017 United Nations Correspondents Association Directory.” Tweeted photo here.

This supposed UN Correspondents Association has not pushed for any rules or transparency. In fact, it was for seeking to pursue the UN bribery / Ng Lap Seng / South South Newsstory by covering a UN Press Briefing Room event of UNCA, which accepted funds from Ng's South South News, that Inner City Press was evicted from the UN and remains restricted sixteen months later. (Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has defended this, saying he "lent" the room to UNCA, Aide Memoire to US Senate here.) 

On July 5 as Guterres gave a “reform” speech about how Amina Mohammed will take over the UN Development System, Inner City Press was ordered to stop staking-out the meeting unlike other correspondents. Actually, at the same time UNCA was holding an unrelated event in the clubhouse the UN gives them. 

It's like an in-house union, which has allowed a two-tier system of access and actively sought to get the investigative Press thrown out. In this context it is also troubling that the acting head of the UN Department of Public Information Maher Nasser, who has maintained the double standard of access for ten weeks and counting recently "multiple reportedly" attended a Hamptons event of -- and accepted gratuities from, as they'd put it in the Ng Lap Seng trial -- UNCA big wigGiampaolo Pioli, who previously vowed to get Inner City Press thrown out if it did not remove from the Internet a story concerning his rentingof an apartment to the ambassador of Sri Lanka, implicated in the White Flag murders of surrendering combatants. 

These things are not all UNCA members' fault, nor most of those who accept their gratuities. But the UN Secretariat's failure to have content neutral rules, and for example to have now disparately treated the investigative Press for sixteen months while trying to give its office and full access to an Egyptian state media, Akhbar al Yom, whose Sanaa Youssef rarely comes in and never asks questions - is shameful. It's the UN Censorship Alliance. We'll have more on this.