The UN needs a Freedom of Information Act, it needs to require senior officials to respond to questions from the media. But amazingly this year, Ban Ki-moon’s UN has shown a willingness to throw critical media physically in the street, seizing Periscope phone and laptop.
Instead of looking in the mirror, the most senior UN officials informed of UN Security throwing the Press into the street on February 19, given a mere two hours notice by DPI’s USG, have circled the wagons. USg Feltman will not respond, even to protests directed at the UN compound in Jaffna, Sri Lanka of the UN’s censorship of the Press.
In the UN’s media bullpen, even temporarily, the lack of the blue wire / high speed Internet for non-resident correspondents speaks volume. The UN’s interlocutor on media access is dominated by media which would never be thrown out — which cut off other media’s questions — and which seemingly engage in anonymous troll Twitter accounts to try to Ban any question of the UN on press freedom.
For now the Free UN Coalition says: non resident correspondents at the UN should not be treated as second class journalists.
As, 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 principled disagreements in this regard cannot legitimately give rise to physical expulsion or retaliatory demotion of accreditation status.
And an organization which cheers, narcs and bring about the expulsion of investigative media cannot be a legitimate representative of journalists cover the UN. It has all changed.
Likewise, the USG for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, even with DPKO embroiled in sexual abuse scandals, rarely takes any questions, and even then only selectively – this is UNacceptable.
Overall, media access must improve at the UN. The UN needs a Freedom of Information Act. FUNCA will work on all of these issues. Now more than ever. Watch this space.