By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- As the UN's summit on refugees and migrants began, 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.
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.
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.