By Joshua Rhett Miller, ,
Published May 16, 2015
A U.N. spokeswoman on Wednesday denied a report that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and three U.N. officials met last month to discuss critical news coverage by FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and Inner City Press.
The report by Inner City Press' Matthew Lee said that Under Secretary-General Angela Kane met on May 8 with Under Secretary for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka, Under Secretary for Legal Affairs Patricia O'Brien, U.N. Director of Communications Michael Meyer and U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas to devise a strategy to "counter negative coverage" by the three media outlets.
Lee, in his report, cited minutes from the meeting prepared by Kane. He claimed the minutes initially were shown to him and then read to him by an unidentified source.
"We propose writing to professional journalistic bodies which regulate the journalists concerned as well as letters to the editors with copies to their companies' legal counsel," the minutes stated, according to Lee.
But Montas, the spokeswoman, told FOXNews.com on Wednesday that "there were no minutes" to the meeting and that Lee actually quoted from a memo to Ban regarding concerns raised by the U.N. Medical Service in connection to previous reporting by Lee on allegations of unlicensed doctors and nurses at the international agency.
"It was not to counter negative coverage of any sort," Montas told FOXNews.com.
Montas said the meeting was held to address ethical and privacy concerns raised by U.N. Medical Services officials in response to Lee's posting of a sign-out sheet from the department. Lee removed the photo from his site on May 16 following requests by the U.N.
Montas said "no steps" were taken regarding potential legal action or "cease and desist" letters, as Lee reported.
"There were no decisions made," Montas said. "There was an exchange of ideas about what could be done about that complaint."
Montas also denied Inner City Press's report that the minutes indicate U.N. officials "should consider complaining to Google News," which hosts the small news outlet.
Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker told FOXNews.com that the Internet giant had not recently been contacted by U.N. officials.
Google News reinstated Inner City Press in February 2008 after dropping it when someone complained to Google that it was a one-man operation, violating the Google News rule that news organizations listed have two or more employees, Stricker said last year.
Lee told FOXNews.com at the time that he believed someone within the U.N. pressured Google to de-list him. The U.N. denied those charges.
"Clearly retaliation is the word," Lee said of his latest controversy with the U.N. "Something's wrong with this U.N. administration's understanding of what it means to have a free press covering them."