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The United Nations and Freedom of the Press: Good for Thee, But Not For Me?

Recorded on March 17, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

The human rights bodies of the United Nations have long been advocates for freedom of the press.  In recent years, however, the United Nations has come under increased scrutiny from the press, resulting in a number of embarrassing news stories focusing on the organization and its activities.  This increased scrutiny has resulted occasionally in strained relations between the UN and the press.  Earlier this year, a news outlet called "Inner City Press" was de-listed from Google news after repeatedly publishing stories embarrassing to the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Development Program.  Reporter Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press was subsequently harangued and threatened by a senior UN official.  Based on a relationship between Google and the UN, questions were raised about whether the de-listing was linked to critical news stories on the UN by Inner City Press.  How transparent and cooperative is the UN to press inquiries and investigations?  Is the UN pursuing a double standard in urging its members to support press freedom while seeking to shield itself from press inquiries?  What can and should be done to enhance journalistic access to the UN and its activities?  Join us as our distinguished panelists discuss these issues.

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The human rights bodies of the United Nations have long been advocates for freedom of the press.  In recent years, however, the United Nations has come under increased scrutiny from the press, resulting in a number of embarrassing news stories focusing on the organization and its activities.  This increased scrutiny has resulted occasionally in strained relations between the UN and the press.  Earlier this year, a news outlet called "Inner City Press" was de-listed from Google news after repeatedly publishing stories embarrassing to the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Development Program.  Reporter Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press was subsequently harangued and threatened by a senior UN official.  Based on a relationship between Google and the UN, questions were raised about whether the de-listing was linked to critical news stories on the UN by Inner City Press.  How transparent and cooperative is the UN to press inquiries and investigations?  Is the UN pursuing a double standard in urging its members to support press freedom while seeking to shield itself from press inquiries?  What can and should be done to enhance journalistic access to the UN and its activities?  Join us as our distinguished panelists discuss these issues.