United Nations bans independent reporter for failing to meet ‘professional standards’

United Nations bans independent reporter for failing to meet ‘professional standards’
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The United Nations (U.N.) told an independent reporter covering the body for years that he has been banned for unprofessional behavior.

BuzzFeed News reported that the U.N. informed Matthew Lee on Friday that he had been permanently banned from U.N. headquarters, claiming that he “has consistently breached” the body's media guidelines and his behavior “does not meet the established professional standards required of all correspondents granted access to United Nations premises.”

Lee disputed the U.N.’s characterization of his conduct, telling the news site that the move is “censorship pure and simply by [UN Secretary-General] António Guterres who doesn’t like my questions on corruption and Cameroon.”

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Lee publishes his reporting on his site Inner City Press. He has reported on the body since 2005, and his coverage has focused on the intricacies of the U.N.

BuzzFeed News reported that Lee has also pushed for the U.N. to be more transparent.

Lee lost his access to his office in the U.N. in 2016 after he stayed in a booth in the press briefing room during a meeting of the U.N. Correspondents Association, of which he is not a member.

He also lost his permanent access to the building at the time, and was required to go through security and leave the headquarters at the end of working hours, according to the news site.

Lee was removed from the building in July after he was found to be there after hours, waiting for a budget meeting to end. He told BuzzFeed News that his removal was an attempt to stop his reporting.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told the outlet that Lee tried to enter another off-limits area the night of his removal, and that the meeting he was waiting for was not open to the public or members of the media.

Lee's actions were reviewed by the U.N.’s Department of Public Information and Department of Safety and Security, and eventually led to his accreditation being revoked and the permanent ban imposed on Friday.