UN Media Access Reduced By UNtransparent Processes, Reserved Seats, Double Standards

During UN General Debate week and since, it has become apparent that the UN’s lack of transparency and lack of rules should be called into question. For example, when Francois Hollande held a press conference in Room S-237, many seats were labeled “Réservé” for French traveling journalists: Reserved.

The Free UN Coalition for Access immediately asked DPI who had approved it, and under what rule. The reply was that this level of “reserving” was deemed to be OK, in this case. But to avoid problems going forward, what is the acceptable percentage? What is the rule? Photo at https://twitter.com/FUNCA_info/status/382544425794011136

Since then, an Egyptian-sponsored event on a Nuclear Free Middle East was held in too small a space (CR 7 of the North Lawn Building) such that media who wanted to cover it could not get in. Meanwhile, despite the meeting being “open,” it was not on EZTV. The Free UN Coalition for Access asked DPI why it wasn’t televised and was told to “ask the organizers.” But they said they had not asked to ban cameras. Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon “closed” meeting with a women’s group in September was televised. So what is the procedure? What is the rule?

During the General Debate, the Security Council stakeout where DPI has told the Free UN Coalition for Access there was be no work tables was suddenly FULL of work tables — for the press corps which covers US president Obama. In NY vernacular, what are we, chopped liver?

Even on something as straight forward as who decided which media get to go on Security Council trip like the recent one to Africa, there is no transparency. First it was not explained who made the decision. After FUNCA pressed it, it was admitted that France was allowed to make the selection, alone. Video at http://youtu.be/N_nn8lToeUU

   That is wrong – in this case, France only co-led one of four legs of the trip. Even so, what are the criteria for going on such trips, and what is the duty of the DPI / Spokesperson’s Office staff who goes along? Only to serve the three media selected (by France)? Or the wider UN press corps with updates?

FUNCA will continue to pursue these and other issues. Watch this site.