We demand the UN restore Inner City Press' access to the UN as a Resident Correspondent
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Since then Inner City Press broken stories ranging from peacekeeper rapes in Africa, through UN cholera in Haiti, war crimes in Sri Lanka, Burundi, the Sudans, SEMG and Yemen (leaked letter here), to corruption in UN Headquarters, including for example cocaine shipments through its mail room and the current bribery scandals surrounding John Ashe, Ng Lap Seng and Frank Lorenzo.
On February 19, 2016, Matthew was given only two hours notice to leave the UN, closing down his shared office space and lugging eight years of investigative files with him. He asked for time, went to cover a UN Security Council meeting on Syria - and was pushed out of the building with his UN Resident Correspondents pass torn off, without even his coat or passport, by eight UN Security guards. Audio here.
On February 22 when another UN correspondent tried to sign Matthew in as a guest, to cover that day's UN Security Council meeting, UN Security announced Matthew was banned throughout all UN premises and to get out of even the UN pass office. Matthew took to covering the UN and Security Council from the Isaiah plowshares park in front of the UN on 43rd Street.
The letter which demanded Matthew leave on two hours notice was signed by UN Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, based on an incident three weeks before on January 29. In that time, Gallach not once spoke to or tried to get Matthew's side of the story. There was no due process, no credible investigation.
On January 29, Matthew went to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room for Inner City Press. The group the UN Press Briefing Room was apparently "lent" to asked him to leave, and Matthew said he would if UN Security confirmed that it was a closed meeting.
The group, left unnamed in this petition, has acknowledged funding from Ng Lap Seng's and Frank Lorenzo's South South News. UNlike UN official Gallach's February 19 letter, if only for BuzzFeed the group has spelled out its version, using "blogger" as a bad word and for example mistaking Periscope live-streaming with "video on a blog" while its members turned over their video to the UN authorities: who are they working for?
This is who today's UN of Ban Ki-moon, Herve Ladsous (who refuses Press questions about rapes, linking them to "R&R"), Cristina Gallach and others wants to work with: no more hard questions, a symbiosis of "news."
So when even Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta wrote to Gallach in Inner City Press' favor, she dodged. Now, this petition.
Matthew did in fact leave when a UN Security officer told him that UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric was ordering it. (There was no "Closed Meeting" sign on the door, and no Closed Meeting listed in the UN Journal.) Three weeks later, Gallach by a letter had Matthew expelled, his Resident Correspondents pass deactivated then torn off.
This petition demands in light of the above that Matthew Russell Lee and Inner City Press be restored to the shared UN office and Resident Correspondent accreditation they have had for eight years prior to this pretextual incident. It also requests, as does the Free UN Coalition for Access that Matthew co-founded, that an investigation be launched into how all of this occurred.
Please sign, for aggressive investigative journalism at the UN and to tell the leaders of the UN that the UN, too, must live up to the principles of due process and freedom of the press.
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