As UN Excludes Media From Budget Panel Ceremony, CNN Event Echo, Move-Back Snafus

The UN makes more and more claims about transparency, including financial transparency. But when the Free UN Coalition for Access test them, there’s less transparency than has been claimed.

For the “ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate the new Conference Room of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions” Tuesday at 3 pm, the “international media” was invited to attend. The UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit notice said that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would make remarks.

And so two members of the Free UN Coalition for Access went to cover the event.

But in front of Conference Room 10, where ACABQ meets, UN Security stopped the FUNCA members. No, they said, you cannot come in. Only UN Photo, the UN’s in-house photo service.

Particularly on the UN body dealing with money, wouldn’t non-UN, outside indepedent coverage be important? To all other room re-openings, from the Security Council through ECOSOC to the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the Press had been invited, and has covered each event.

And so the only way, for now, to “cover” the UN and its budget advisory group is to report that the press and thus public were excluded. The Free UN Coalition for Access opposes and is fighting this trend.

Just the day previous, a UN correspondent complained to FUNCA, she was attending an open meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, moderated by Jim Clancy of CNN on the topic of human trafficking, when she was told to leave by UN Security, she says, related to a previous complaint of sexual harassment. Human trafficking and transparency, indeed.

Even the move-back of the press corps to the Secretariat building has run into snafus. The promised “EZTV” service has proved anything but easy: it won’t be ready until the end of the week, if then.

And still, at least for some, there are no keys. Nevertheless, the UN on Monday night urgently informed the Press that the office it would move from would be cleaned out on Tuesday night. As noted, at least some journalist cannot leave documents unlocked, due to their sources. But this is the UN.

Some in the press corps, favored with already locked and disproportionately large offices like the UN Correspondents Association Executive Committee, which which the UN exclusively negotiated who got which space, see no need to advocate. As simply one, but the first, example FUNCA notes for example that one Western wire service, on UNCA’s Executive Committee, grabbed for itself a private office with five spots (for two people) while another non First World wire service got pushed with two other media. This is not right. Watch this site.