"....The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability....."
- UN Staff Union
Monday, June 18, 2012
Good Journalism at the U.N.? It might become harder to find.
With all the corruption at the United Nations, you might think that the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) would have better things to do than pick a fight with a single reporter. But you would be wrong.
Matthew Lee is the only reporter for Inner City Press, a Bronx-based nonprofit group known mainly for investigations of financial institutions and advocacy for the poor. Lee has broken a number of stories about the U.N., but now he himself is the story. In fact, he could become the first journalist ever expelled from UNCA.
Last week, UNCA announced that it would investigate Lee for unethical and unprofessional behavior. Few reporters with knowledge of the situation wish to comment on the record, but journalists both inside and outside the UNCA say the situation is one in which personal animosity has overridden professional judgment.
Regarded as abrasive by some of his colleagues, Lee has had volatile arguments with other UNCA reporters, and has frequently complained about other journalists’ failing to credit him for breaking news. He has also written stories accusing the UNCA president, Giampaolo Pioli, of a conflict of interest involving Sri Lanka. These personal disputes lie at the heart of the UNCA investigation.
UNCA is a self-governing body. Thus, whether Lee remains a member is entirely up to the organization. UNCA membership is not a prerequisite for obtaining U.N. press credentials, which are granted by the U.N. Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) — so Lee’s expulsion would not automatically deprive him of U.N. access. According to the Guidelines on Media Access at United Nations Headquarters:
The United Nations Department of Public Information as well as the Safety & Security Service reserve the right to deny or withdraw accreditation of journalists from media organizations whose activities run counter to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations or who abuse the privileges so extended or put the accreditation to improper use or act in a way not consistent with the principles of the Organization or established journalism ethics and standards.
A MALU spokesperson acknowledged that the U.N. has rescinded press credentials in the past, but she added that UNCA’s investigation of Lee would not directly influence MALU.
Lee’s grammar and style are often unusual, and he sometimes fails to observe journalistic niceties. Although these traits are not uncommon among small media outlets, some journalists have expressed concern that they — along with an unfavorable UNCA decision — could allow the U.N. to deny Lee’s reapplication for press credentials on the basis that his actions are inconsistent with “established journalism ethics and standards.” His current credentials expire in August.
It would not be first time that Lee has been targeted. Inner City Press was scrubbed from Google News in 2008, allegedly at the behest of the U.N. At the time, UNCA came to Lee’s defense. But that was before his recent clashes with that organization and its members.
And Turtle Bay officialdom could be receptive to their new opinion of him. Lee is probably the U.N. Department of Public Information’s least-favorite journalist because he is persistent, is willing to ask uncomfortable questions, and has cultivated an impressive network of sources within the U.N. In short, he’s a pain in their neck at every press briefing.
Lee is also unusual in that he focuses on the inner workings of the U.N. — stories that are off the radar of larger news outlets. For instance, Lee broke the story about the discovery of 40 pounds of cocaine in a diplomatic pouch in the U.N. mailroom. He reported that Ibrahim Gambari, a special representative for Darfur of the African Union and the U.N., had greeted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir at a wedding even as Bashir stood indicted on charges of genocide, and he wrote of the opulent home Gambari built in Darfur at U.N. expense. He has exposed irregularities with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in North Korea, and his coverage of a UNDP-funded program of forced disarmament in Uganda led to that program’s suspension.
Other reporters readily admit that Lee’s reporting is valuable. “He may not always get it right, but Matthew covers the U.N. like no one else, often scooping much larger news organizations,” the New York Post’s Benny Avni says. “Matthew digs into how it works — and often into how it doesn’t.”
Claudia Rosett, journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, notes: “Matthew Russell Lee has broken a series of important stories over the years — stories that without his efforts might have gone unnoticed.” Off the record, other reporters shared similar views with me.
Inner City Press has been a member of UNCA for five years, and all that time Lee’s U.N. press credentials have routinely been renewed. Thus, both UNCA and MALU have repeatedly affirmed Inner City Press’s status as a legitimate member of the media. I spoke with UNCA journalists who expressed the view that, regardless of what UNCA decides, Lee should retain his press credentials.
The U.S. mission to the U.N. has a role to play in this imbroglio. It should not intervene in internal UNCA deliberations, but it absolutely should stand firm in protecting the principle of freedom of the press. Media coverage of the U.N. is too shallow as it is. It would suffer more if reporters like Matthew Lee were denied access. The U.S. government should make clear to the U.N. that it supports Lee and other controversial journalists trying to retain their press credentials. — Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at the Heritage Foundation.
637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires, and another 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).
UN/UNDP's budgets are untransparent !
U.N. budget is “utterly opaque, untransparent and completely in the shadow” and would benefit from being consolidated and audited from the outside. MMB from NyTimes
JOSE RAMOS HORTA - PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘
Boutros Boutros-Ghali on UN:
"perhaps half of the UN work force does nothing useful"
Can Helen Clark be trusted on Climate Change ?
President Obama's answer to Helen Clark's appeal for US to do more on climate change was : "I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don't think anybody's gonna go for that," he said. "I won't go for that."
In 2011 Rami Makhlouf - a trusted development partner of UNDP in Syria
In 2008 U.S. Treasury designation: Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption (Click on photo to see US Treasury page)
"Screwed" How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off
A full chapter (7) dedicated to UNDP and UN Secretariat. But it today at Amazon.com (click above picture)
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Asma al-Assad is UNDP's champion of reform in Syria
UNDP's special relations with dictators and terror is well documented. Yet, they continue to operate covered by UN Immunity. Click on immage for story.
Aicha Gaddafi You are Fired !
UNDP continues to be in bed with other dictators. Will clean it one at a time.
Where is NETAID money David Morrison?
UNDP Transparency Censored
UNDP's moto is: - eliminate the uncomfortable, frighten those who disagree, "educate" the perplexed..
UNDP Chief Finance Officer
The UNDP is a secretive organization and so far has kept in the dark every information related to its Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. Darshak Shah. Click on the picture for more on Finance Office of UNDP.
UNDP Belarus - best breast corner
Should tax-payers dollars be used to photograph beautiful breasts - even when making a valid point?
Uncle Helen turning UNDP into a cove of corrupt NZ labour politicians
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE Chris Carter's latest Credit Card scandal - can he work at UNDP after that? It seems YES he is full tested!!
Helen Clark says: "No more cars"
Thinking about buying a new car this year? Why, you evil Westerner! You don’t need that. You are demanding your new car off the sweat, toil, and exploitation of the world’s poorest people in developing countries.
Eveline Herfkens belongs to Jail - she should return imemdiately Dutch Taxpayers money.
if anyone else would have done what Eveline Herfkens did, would have long been in jail. We denounce this impunity and demand justice.
Andrew Mitchell - says Helen Clark is up to no good!
1. UNDP’s partnership with the World Bank needs to be more effective, particularly in fragile and crisis-affected countries. 2. UNDP’s near universal mandate means its technical resources are spread very thinly. The Board does not provide strategic direction. HR management is weak. It has a weak results chain. 3. There is limited evidence of active senior management consideration of cost control. Country evidence points to mixed progress on demonstrating cost-efficiency. 4. The Executive Board is politicised and there is a lack of consensus on the key areas for reform. It is not clear that current plans for change will deliver the required depth and breadth of reform. 5. Evidence gathered at country level was highly critical of UNDP’s ability to deliver results. Its delivery can be undermined by staffing issues and bureaucratic processes. 6. Its performance in fragile states is mixed. It has reasonable training and a range of guidance and analytical tools but struggles to fill posts. 7. There is no evidence that the Climate Strategy was directly guiding resource allocation decisions
Mark Malloch Brown outraged over Aicha Gaddafi
“I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” ...“I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”
Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses
Get ready to a sensual feast of ...sounds...scents of The Land of حماس Ḥamās Documentary sponsored by UNDP Funds (click on picture for video)
Helen Clark on UNDP's own corruption (Can she be trusted?)
“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
Scandal in Rwanda with Human Development Report
Aurelien Agbenonci, UNDP's RR in Kigali accuses Khalid Malik of making up data without UNDP Rwanda's knowledge. Rwanda Government is unhappy !!!
H.E. Dirk Niebel - German Development Minister
"I take the accusations made in the media concerning corruption and breach of fiduciary duty at the Global Fund very seriously and I am sure that the Fund will clarify the matter without delay. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Global Fund. I have therefore seen to it that a special review will be held. I have frozen all further disbursements to the Fund until matters have been fully clarified, and I will ask a representative of the Fund to come to the BMZ to discuss the matter."
US Amb. Joseph Torsella blows the whistle on UN budgets
U.N. Secretariat’s proposed $5.2 “regular” budget for 2012-2013, was “simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned.”
The U.N. Exposed
How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World (Click in picture to purchase the book)
Share now information about illegal dealings at United Nations
If you are in possession of UNDP or any other United Nations Agency' contracts, correspondence, financial records or databases, which you believe detail wrongdoing such as fraud, mismanagement and abuse of authority, and you have failed to have UN's internal control, oversight and justice systems respond and/or react to your claims, you can send them to UNDP-WATCH and we will make them public keeping your identity anonymous and confidential.
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Clark is watching you!
Gaddafi aint got nothing on UNDP - Click on the picture for more!
Malakia: A Turk advises Greece on Economy
Kemal Dervis (Turkish) and George Papandreou (Greek) share many late-night phone calls together (Click on picture to read story)
Where does Ban stand on Libya?
C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
United Nations Dispute Tribunal finds Ethics Office decisions Appealable
Because UNDT is the first level of the UN’s two-tiered justice system, there is a possibility that this decision may be appealed. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will not be “absurd” enough to do so. Click above to go to GAP page.
Andrew Mitchell Demands Transparency from United Nations
And I promise you as well that in future, when it comes to international development, we will want to see hard evidence of the impact your money makes. Not just dense and impenetrable budget lines but clear evidence of real effect
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT UNITED NATIONS
Ban Ki Moon supports Ethics Decision on UNDP North Korea
Question: He recommends strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation? Spokesperson: We will see what is going to happen. The Secretary-General of course is behind Mr. Benson on his report. There is no doubt about it. What UNDP will do, we will be seeing this; how they will implement that report.
UNDP Watch is a grouping of United Nations Staff committed to openness. We believe that everyone has the right to access information held by United Nations.
Despite a stated commitment to openness, UNDP remain a highly secretive agency.
Although a wealth of information is available on some UNDP websites, its Executive Board operate behind closed doors, much important programme and administrative information is never made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken.
While UNDP has adopted “internal policies” on information disclosure, they in fact operate on precisely the opposite presumption. For the most part, they list which documents will be disclosed and when, and there is a presumption against the disclosure of all the other information they hold. They do not establish right of access, the lists of documents subject to disclosure is limited, they do not set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access and they do not provide for independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policy.
The UNDP WATCH is calling for the complete overhaul of these policies.
"...We believe that without accountability, there is impunity. We ask that you (Secretary General) not be complicit in cover-up of what happened prior to 11 Dec attack. The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability."