Inner City Press

Inner City Press[1] is a public interest organization founded by Matthew Lee, who serves as Executive Director. Inner City Press is best known for its investigations of the banking industry's treatment of low-income communities of color, at first within the United States and more recently around the world, for example with regard to HSBC, Deutsche Bank and others. In the spring of 2013, in the US, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch has for example raised fair lending issues regarding Investors Bank.[2] In 2018, Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch challenged a merger by People's United Bank. [3] Also in 2018, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on 3 July 2018 and banned from entering since.[4]

Inner City Press
non-profit organization
Genrepublic interest
human rights
investigative journalism
FounderFamilies of South Bronx
HeadquartersSouth Bronx, New York
United States
WebsiteMain Website
Daily UN Reporting


Inner City Press was founded in 1987 in the South Bronx of New York City. Its first projects involved under-housed people fixing up abandoned buildings.

By the 1990s, Inner City Press began working on issues of exclusion of financial services, overburdening with environmental toxins, and lack of accountability by government and corporations to low-income areas. In 1994, Inner City Press' challenges using the Community Reinvestment Act resulted in four banks opening new branches in the South Bronx. By 1998, Inner City Press' challenges had resulted in over $7 billion of commitments in new lending to low income people. Some in the banking industry opine that Inner City Press' challenges are indiscriminate.

In 1998, Inner City Press took the lead in opposing the merger of Citicorp and Travelers to form Citigroup. Inner City Press spoke at both companies' shareholders' meetings, commented to the Federal Reserve, and ultimately initiated litigations against the merger, the largest in the financial services industry. Since then, Inner City Press has pursued Citigroup as it has made acquisitions in Mexico and elsewhere, while initiating similar campaigns regarding HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wachovia, General Electric, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, AIG, Wells Fargo and others. The global work is done through the Fair Finance Watch. Inner City Press' executive director is Matthew Lee, who is the author of the non-fiction book Predatory Lending: Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City and the novel Predatory Bender and an accredited journalist at the United Nations.

In August 2011, Inner City Press exclusively put online the UN's internal plan for post-Gaddafi Libya, as credited and covered by Al Jazeera English.[5]

In October 2012, Lee and Inner City Press raised fair lending and compliance issues about M&T Bank's application to acquire Hudson City Bancorp, which remains unapproved as of May 2013.[6]

Inner City Press was profiled in the Columbia Journalism Review Guide by journalist Armin Rosen[7] "Online News Start Ups" on March 11, 2011.[8]


In mid-2006, investigative journalism at the UN by Inner City Press[9] exposed human rights abuses in the forcible disarmament programs carried out by the Uganda People's Defense Force in the Karamoja region of Uganda. The United Nations Development Programme halted its activities in the region.[10]

In 2006 in U.S. journalism, Lee and Inner City Press were engaged in litigation to deem the "citizens-only" provision of the Freedom of Information Act of Delaware (and ten other states) to be unconstitutional.

On February 13, 2008 Google removed Inner City Press from Google News, allegedly due to pressure from the UN.[11] As of 2015, however, ICP is active on Google News Alerts subscriptions.

In 2012, after Inner City Press's reporting on Sri Lanka, Syria and UN corruption, the UN apparently reneged on a commitment to renew Inner City Press' accreditation, amid a "Board of Examination" to expel Inner City Press, started by the President and Executive Committee of the UN Correspondents Association.[12] Despite suggestions to the contrary, Inner City Press' UN accreditation was renewed and he remains a member of the UN press corps in good standing.

Inner City Press' Lee became a subject of controversy for soe over the last year. A Guardian UK article cited recounts how some UNCA Executive Committee members acted against Inner City Press' Lee after he reported that the UNCA President had a previous financial relationship with Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, then agreed to screen for this ambassador his government's film denying war crimes.[13]

In December 2012 along with Luiz Rampelotto of Europa Newswire, Inner City Press co-founded as an alternative to UNCA the new Free UN Coalition for Access.[14]

Inner City Press continues to break and pursue stories, for example in the Spring of 2013 the auctioning off of an internship in the UN for over $20,000, credited by among others Talk Radio News Service [15] and on [16]

Likewise, Inner City Press continues reporting on Sri Lanka, as for example credited in the Colombo Gazette of May 14, 2013.[17]

In June 2013, Inner City Press exclusively as credited by the BBC, Bloomberg News and others put online the full text for the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions Group of Experts report: see e.g., July 2, 2013, Bloomberg News / BusinessWeek: "Congo’s Army Smuggling Minerals in East Congo, UN Experts Say" (" Inner City Press, a New York-based investigative journalism organization, published the document on its website on June 29") [18]

And see, July 5, 2013, BBC: "DR Congo's M23 rebels: Rwandan support 'falling'" ("The report, leaked by Inner City Press which follows UN affairs") [19]

On August 13, 2013, @InnerCityPress was named to Foreign Policy Magazine's Top 100 Twitterati list, one of only two covering the UN.[20]

On August 15, 2013, Inner City Press' work covering the UN Security Council on Egypt was cited in Buzz Feed's story on the same subject.[21]

On August 28, 2013, Inner City Press' reporting on Syria was features in Pacifica radio station KPFA's "Flashpoints" program [22] and elsewhere [23]

Inner City Press' questioning of the UN on when it asked the Syrian government for access to al Ghouta was played on Democracy Now on August 28, from Minute 18:30 [24]

In July 2018, after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up and banned from the UN, the Columbia Journalism Review profiled the censorship aspects of the case. [25]


  2. See "Investors, Roma bank merger still awaiting regulator's approval". April 30, 2013.
  3., Howard French. "Bank buyout challenged over lending record". Journal Inquirer. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  4. "Independent journalist Matt Lee forcibly removed from UN, stripped of press credentials". U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  5. "UN 'plan for post-Gaddafi Libya' leaked". Al Jazeera English.
  6. "Strictly Business". Strictly Business.
  7. "Circle of Pro-Israel Writers Rises". The Jewish Daily Forward. 31 July 2012.
  8. "Inner City Press". Columbia Journalism Review.
  9. In Uganda, UNDP's Belated Announcement of Program Halt Leaves Questions Unanswered - Inner City Press, 6/28/06
  10. UNDP suspends Karamoja projects Archived 2007-02-14 at the Wayback Machine - The New Vision, 6/28/06
  11. Journalist Who Exposes U.N. Corruption Disappears From Google - Fox News, 2/19/08
  12. Good Journalism at the U.N.? It might become harder to find - National Review, 6/18/12
  13. "UN journalists threaten to expel reporter". the Guardian.
  14. "Free United Nations Coalition for Access". Free United Nations Coalition for Access.
  15. "Spox: "UN Internships Are Not For Sale"". Talk Radio News Service.
  16. "Meritocracy for sale".
  17. "UN unaware of letter from Salley". Colombo Gazette.
  18. "Congo's Army Smuggling Minerals in East Congo, UN Experts Say".
  19. "BBC News - DR Congo's M23 rebels: Rwandan support 'falling'". BBC News.
  20. "The FP Twitterati 100". Foreign Policy. 20 August 2013.
  21. "U.S. Doesn't Join Allies In Calling For U.N. Security Council Meeting On Egypt". BuzzFeed.
  22. "Flashpoints - August 28, 2013 at 5:00pm - KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley: Listener Sponsored Free Speech Radio".
  23. "UN Didn't Ask for Access in Syria Until Saturday - Kansas City infoZine". Kansas City infoZine.
  25. "The intrepid reporter who got expelled from the UN". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
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