UN Correspondents Association violates its own Constitution, trying to get Press thrown out of UN? Of space scams, Champagne and censorship?

This UN needs to be pressed on media access. But in 2012 the UNCA Executive Committee tried to censor and then expel, from UNCA and the UN. Meanwhile, $250 to see an UNCA award be given December 19 to Arnold Schwarzenegger (why?) and prizes given to its own executive committee members. And violating its own constitution, which required elections by Dec 15, and for the executive committee to leave office Jan 1. They have no powers after then, including to run elections. Here’s from UNCA’s Constitution, Article 3, Section 3:

“The members of the Executive Committee shall assume their duties on the first day of January following the election and shall hold office until the last day of December of the year. Elections of the Executive committee shall be held between November 15 and December 15.”

This is simple, and is one of the only acts this Executive Committee is required to do (the $250 a plate reception for Arnold Schwartzenegger they’ve set for December 19 is entirely voluntary.)

But on December 14, the day before the election had to be held, this UNCA Executive Committee simply announced that it would not hold the election before the end of the year.

Amid the many moves back into the UN’s 38 story tower, the move of the press corps will come nearly last.

The issue of media space and services is set to be the subject of a December 10 meeting between the UN and some members of the discredited UN Correspondents Association executive committee.

But other UNCA members, much less UN resident correspondents who are not members of UNCA, have not been told about it. Some wonder if their rights can be defended by this selective and secretive process — and so an inquiry by the new FUNCA, the Free UN Coalition on Access.

Having been launched only on December 7, after the receipt of documents under the Freedom of Information Act which show that UNCA bigwigs from Reuters, Agence France Presse and Voice of America tried to get investigative press thrown out of the UN, FUNCA is not yet at the strength it aims to gain.

But its questions include the following: by what right does a small group of correspondents purport to negotiate for others they do not keep informed?

Who can guarantee that these insiders don’t simply feather their nests and receive closed door offices, one for each media, while others work in a bullpen?

Even some elected members of the UNCA Executive Committee were not informed of the meeting set for Monday, nor of other plans.

And, FUNCA has learned from mission sources, despite formal objection within the UNCA Executive Committee in late October, a letter was sent out on November 8 purporting to be for the whole UNCA Executive Committee. This organization has become a sham. In the future, their letters cannot be taken at face value: they simple exclude even elected members who disagree with them.

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