For this year’s UN General Assembly week, all but the most favored media are to be confined to Conference Room 1 where, the Department of Public Information has said, journalists will not be allowed food or even water.
DPI also said that while “Resident Correspondents” – those with no offices or whom Ban and Gallach have not evicted – will have 20 passes to roam the Conference Building, non-residents are BANned, or can only go there with an escort or minder. This is Unacceptable.
The Free UN Coalition for Access on September 16 (and before) asked that all journalist have access to the full range of UN events showed on EZTV rather than the more limited webcast, and that the access passes not be arbitrarily limited to the correspondents Ban’s UN favors.
FUNCA on September 16 asked DPI’s Cristina Gallach about the arrangements in Conference Room 1, Vine video here.
This year, Ban Ki-moon’s UN has shown a willingness not only to throw critical media physically in the street, seizing Periscope phone and laptop, but to follow up by throwing journalistic files out onto First Avenue, with no due process or appeal. This happened on February 19 and then April 16, 2016, at the direction of UN DPI.
Instead of looking in the mirror, Team Ban has circled the wagons. This despite the fact that USG Gallach is criticized in the UN OIOS audit of the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng case, in Paragraphs 37-40 and 20(b).
In the UN’s media bullpen, the continuing lack of high speed Internet for non-resident correspondents speaks volume. The UN’s interlocutor on media access is run by media which would never be thrown out – which cut off other media’s questions and try to restrict their access.
FUNCA says: non-resident correspondents at the UN should not be treated as second class journalists, during GA week or any other week. And, as asserted on January 29, 2016, and before that when the UN Spokesman tried to “lend” the UN Press Briefing Room to French President Francois Hollande, that room should not be privatized to some but not all UN journalists.
And an organization which cheers, narcs and brings about the expulsion of investigative media cannot be a legitimate representative of journalists covering the UN. It has all changed or must change. Media access must improve at the UN. The UN needs a Freedom of Information Act. FUNCA will work on this. Watch this space.