Petition update

With UN's Gallach Gone, Request for End of Restrictions & Office Restoration, For Officer in Charge

UNfree Press

Apr 5, 2017 — APRIL 5 -- Antonio Guterres has been UN Secretary General for nearly 100 days, and whatever other reforms might be in the works, Inner City Press remains restricted, unable to cover the UN's second floor without minders.

This week as an Ambassador spoke to Inner City Press about the Internet shut-off in Cameroon, UN Security came over to hinder its reporting. [On Cameroon: http://www.innercitypress.com/cameroon16uninternet040517.html]

Meanwhile Inner City Press' office Room S-303 sits empty, the Egyptian media Akhbar al Yom which Cristina "The Evicter" Gallach purported to put in it rarely coming in, never asking questions. From March 31, Gallach is no longer in charge of the UN Department of Public Information; there is an "Officer in Charge," Mahar Nasser, to whom this has been directed:

"Four hundred and five days ago, without any hearing or opportunity to be heard, I was ordered out of the United Nations for having sought to covering a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room that was nowhere listed as closed to some journalists and not others. Inner City Press, still without any hearing and no appeal since, was then evicted from its shared office S-303 which has sat largely unused since. I have been forced, for more than a year, to only enter through the metal detectors at the Visitors Entrance, and my pass has not worked on the second floor turnstile, precluding me from covering events on the second floor as other correspondents could. There are other restrictions and double standards, hindering reporting, of which DPI has been made aware.

Yesterday was the last day atop DPI for the official who without speaking to me once signed the February 19, 2016 letter, and for the April 2016 eviction. The Deputy Spokesperson told me yesterday, in a noon briefing where I asked six questions (earlier the week there was a noon briefing where from the entire rest of the accredited press corps there were only three questioners), I was told that you are the Officer in Charge of DPI. In that capacity, this is a formal request that Inner City Press be restored to the office it was ousted from without due process... and that I be restored to Resident Correspondent accreditation immediately... I also incorporate this link to the Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders letter: and, again, this petition."

Days later, no ruling, attempted jokes while Inner City Press worked to write up the Syria UN Security Council meeting from a bench in the UN lobby. We'll have more on this.

On March 28, forwarded not sent to Inner City Press, this: "a farewell reception in honor of Under-Secretary-General of DPI, Cristina Gallach, on Thursday, March 30th at 5:30 pm... Food and wine will be served. Please join us for a farewell toast!" Toasting what? Allowing into the UN with no due diligence the Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, as detailed in the UN's own audit at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20b? Evicting the Press without any hearing or appeal? The decline in media access? On March 29, Inner City Press asked among other things, "yesterday your Office replied, regarding the USG of DPI, 'We will announce arrivals and departures as they occur.' Now that your partner has arranged a farewell for this USG for March 30, what is the rationale for your Office refusing to confirm her departure and the status of recruiting a replacement?" The UN spokesman replied, "Regarding Under-Secretary-General Cristina Gallach, her position will be filled by an Officer-in-Charge upon her departure while the process to find a new Under-Secretary-General for Public Information continues." We'll have more on this.