The UN’s News & Media Division runs not only Media Accreditation but also interfaces with media in getting out the raw materials of UN coverage: UNTV video, for example, and the UN News Centre sites, which vary markedly from language to language.
And the day after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on February 19 announced that the head of the News & Media Division would switch over and become his spokesperson, the Free UN Coalition for Access asked what seemed to be an obvious question: would journalists, both inside and beyond UN headquarters, have some input into the selection process or criteria for filling this post?
The outgoing spokesperson said this was “not a serious question,” and several big wigs in the room happily laughed. But at what? Do they want to disempower the press and the press corps? Or do they relish being insiders, like when they listened to Ban Ki-moon and neither asked about Ukraine and the leaked audio dissing the EU (and UN), nor shared the information with even their own members?
The nominated spokesperson is extremely close with this crew, documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act show. For that reason, questions of favoritism, of having solicited complaints to a private e-mail address and providing no due process to journalists, actually having tried to order how (not to) cover the Secretary General and at least one Under Secretary General — should be answered, as quickly as possible. Contrary to what was said on February 20, these are serious questions. And FUNCA will be pursuing them.