Saturday, February 16, 2008

Google Censors Media Outlet Supportive of UN Whistleblowers Stories are Discontinued by Google News Listings

February 15, 2008


Contact: Bea Edwards, International Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 155, 202.841.1391

Contact: Shelley Walden, International Program Associate
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 156

Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)

Google Censors Media Outlet Supportive of UN Whistleblowers Stories are Discontinued by Google News Listings

(Washington, D.C.) – Internet goliath Google has discontinued listing stories from Inner City Press, a United Nations-focused media organization, through its Google News program. The move comes after an Inner City Press staffer reportedly questioned Google regarding its failure to sign a human rights and anti-censorship agreement. Inner City Press is the most effective and important media organization for UN whistleblowers, according to Bea Edwards, International Program director of the Government Accountability Project.

Inner City Press has been an accredited news organization at the United Nations since December 2005 and has been listed on Google News search results for over two years. It is also accredited, according to its web site, at the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and Federal Communications Commission, among other government agencies.

Inner City Press has covered disclosures of whistleblowers in the UNDP office in North Korea, in the UN ‘House’ in Ankara, Turkey, in the group monitoring progress toward the Millennium Development Goals at Headquarters, and in a UNDP climate change project in West Africa, among others.

Over the course of the past year, as management at the United Nations has stepped back from providing whistleblowers with protection from retaliation, Inner City Press has reported the arcane tactics of silencing the free speech of employees of conscience in the UN system. Current whistleblower protections at the UN are grossly inadequate. Several agencies within the international body have claimed that they are not subject to the ethical standards established by the UN Ethics Office, citing jurisdictional technicalities. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently issued a bulletin concerning whistleblower rights that simply complicated and confused the issue, creating an entirely new level of bureaucratic dispute, delay, cost and inefficiency for those who report corruption in UN operations and suffer retaliation as a result.

In an email sent to Inner City Press, Google stated the following:

“We periodically review news sources, particularly following user complaints, to ensure Google News offers a high quality experience for our users. When we reviewed your site we've found that we can no longer include it in Google News.”

“Google’s reference to ‘user complaints’ is disturbing,” said Edwards. “We can’t help wondering who is complaining about Inner City Press. Considering their continuing coverage of U.N. whistleblower issues, it’s not too difficult to venture a guess.”

One key story that has been covered by Inner City Press has been the continuing controversy surrounding corruption, fraud and abuse of authority at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). During 2007, GAP received allegations from four UNDP whistleblowers who had been subjected to retaliation as UNDP management sought to destroy the careers of people who exposed serious misconduct. Using administrative and bureaucratic maneuvers, UNDP has thus far escaped accountability for cronyism at the highest levels, diversion of funds, improper sole-source bidding, and political interference in the affairs of UNDP by a member state. Inner City Press has been the most reliable and consistent source of coverage on this issue.

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kemal dervis and all his Rogers should resign