May 2, 2015 — As the UN began its consultations about Syria in Geneva, it announced that for the full five weeks there will be no stakeouts, no photo-sprays, no interviews. The Free UN Coalition for Access is opposed to this closing off of the UN, which still does not have any Freedom of Information Act procedure. This must change.
So too must the UN allowing Under Secretaries General to say they will not answer questions from particular media. These are supposedly public servants.
In UN Headquarters, the Office of the Spokesperson beyond often not answering questions has on May 1, responded to questions about the UN having given a report on the alleged rape of children in the Central African Republic only to the government of the alleged perpetrators and not CAR authorities by calling follow-up questions “rude.” FUNCA opposes this too.
A previous case in which a member state tried to get a journalist from “its” country dis-accredited by the UN, of which FUNCA has complained to the top of the chain, has yet to be appropriately acted on and journalists’ rights affirmed. FUNCA will continue on this.
This too: alongside the UN’s selective advocacy for some but not all journalists under attack, the UN Secretariat should be pressed to speak up for media freedom everywhere it has peacekeeping missions or regional offices, at a bare minimum.
FUNCA opposes the automatic setting aside of first questions, particularly as currently set aside; nor should newsworthy Q&A sessions be shunted off UNTV into the clubhouse the UN gives to its partner, to which it sets-aside questions.
There should be more information, less favoritism, more access. FUNCA