With media access and substantive answers in decline at the UN, there are also outright inconsistencies. The Free UN Coalition for Access is opposing these.
For example, UN embargoed documents should at least be made available to all UN system accredited journalists, not only as just happened to those media organizations which can afford to have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva. When the UN in Geneva on November 24 purported to promote its Committee Against Torture concluding remarks on eight countries, it said embargoed copies would be given only to its “UNOG-based press corps” — that is, media that can afford to have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva.
The Free UN Coalition for Access immediately wrote and asked that the embargoed reports not be so restricted in distribution, noting for example that the UN in Nairobi does not restrict its embargoed reports to media with reporters in the Kenyan capital. So why should UNOG?
But despite multiple requests, the UN in Geneva, and the UN’s lead spokesman in New York, maintained their position, and said that non-Geneva media could just look at the UN website at the embargo time, 8 am in New York. But even an hour after that, the reports weren’t uploaded to the UNOG website. Media which had gotten the embargoed copies were already reporting on the concluding remarks. And from the UN, no explanation, no answer after more than 12 hours to the question of for example which Burundian media have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva and thus access to these embargoed / otherwise not available reports.
Whom does this serve? Meanwhile the top spot at the Department of Public Information has been vacant since June. While the UN has provided no transparency, now an informal short list has been published by the Press. Shouldn’t journalists covering the UN have some input, at least into the criteria?
On that, and on the return of outright censors in UNHQ, without competition, we’ll have more. Watch this site.