UN System Hits New Low, Bans Live Coverage of Anything on SG’s 38th Floor, SG UNdisclosed, No Content-Neutral Media Access Rules

22 May 2018 — Today’s UN system has hit yet another new low, now banning any live broadcasting of events and interchanges on the Secretary General’s 38th floor. First the SG’s Spokesman tried to ban even from photo ops any press which writes, and called any question about it “self-centered.” Then Guterres, unlike even Ban Ki-moon, closed his Senior Management Compact Ceremony to the press. Now it is livestreaming that is banned for the Press – but apparently not delegations and others. Video here. SG meetings are not listed in the public schedule. In UN Headquarters itself UN DPI has no content neutral rules for accreditation or the assignment of work-space and resident status, no due process for journalists (no hearings or appeals, no rules for restoration as resident correspondent, no Freedom of Information Act.

The Secretary General has yet to begin holding the press conferences or even question and answer stakeouts in headquarters that he periodically promises. His Deputy and most USGs seem to follow his lead and not answer questions. There remain questions to be answered about his UN’s use of funds from a group whose UN representative had already been indicted for bribery of a former PGA, and the alleged bribery’s beneficiary still in consultative status with ECOSOC, even after its UN rep again failed to win bail on May 2. Then there’s the inaction on retaliation against whistleblowers at UNAIDS and elsewhere, and admitted attempt to investigative Press sources and where leaked documents are printed. This is UNacceptable. The questions must be answered, & abuses reversed, as a precedent.

Meanwhile as FUNCA has raised, still unaddressed, some journalists are denied access for not being from media “formally registered as a media organization by the UN General Assembly.” This exclusion, like the UN’s wider two-tier system, is UNjustifiable. DPI, charged with pushing out a pro-UN message, also has unfettered discretion in granting work space and full access (or not) to the media which cover the UN. This is Unacceptable. Watch this space.