Problems of access and double standards in rules remain a problem as we enter August. On July 25, there was only a three-minute noon briefing by the UN Office of the Spokesperson . It began during the middle of a critical speech in the Security Council, and reasonable requests by the Free UN Coalition for Access to re-open it three minutes are it began were rejected. While some off-camera flexibility was later shown, it should be committed that this not be repeated.
A new double standard is finding that while journalists are left without office space and have their passes downgraded to green, or have their passes questioned, DPI has given Press status to an intern of UNCA, which is not a media organization. This contravenes the very rules DPI (and UNCA where it suits it) cite to others. It is not the intern’s fault: it is UNCA and DPI breaking their own rules. This must be explained, and addressed. So too must the leaving of UN Room S-310 locked – with the intern inside – and the publicizing of what are called “UN Briefings” only to those who pay money (dues) to UNCA. This was asked at the July 26 noon briefing, for FUNCA, but a day later was not answer. It must be.
While there are still only two small benches, won at the Security Council stakeout, there is no access for the press or public to the new GA in the North Lawn building. The Free UN Coalition for Access has raised this to the top of DPI, then at the noon briefing. A table, which existed in front of the Security Council before and during the relocation, must be restored at the stakeout and GA access must be restored: this FUNCA has stated to DPI. And since then, FUNCA has complained to OICT about problems with the UN Wi-Fi in front of the Security Council, UNHQ-CB.
DPI’s recent non-rescinded communications have focused on trying to force the removal of even a single sign of FUNCA, by threatening the suspension or withdrawal of accreditation. We called that censorship, and maintain it. The “Media Access Guidelines” to which UNCA that doesn’t want to be named is nevertheless a party, are anti-free speech & anti-access. We oppose locked up space for UNCA while other reporters don’t have work space.
FUNCA has also raised to DPI the exclusion of resident correspondents’ guests from anywhere on the second floor. This was not the case in the past, and stands in contrast to those who come with guest badges on to take their photographs with the flags. This must be explained, as must all of DPI’s double standards, including on the issuance of white P resident correspondent passes. Access to the second floor including Delegates’ Lounge must be explained and expanded. FUNCA aims to hold the UN to its stated purposes, by making it transparent and accessible without discrimination. Watch this space