September 29 — The UN General Debate of 2014 has seen cut-backs and several negative precedents for media access, abetted by the UN itself. The absurdity of requiring, even after metal detectors, minders or escorts from the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison unit to get to the General Assembly stakeout has yet to be explained.
A P5 member state’s attempt to privatize the UN Press Briefing Room was challenged by the Free UN Coalition for Access. But since then, the UN Spokesman has claimed that other member states did the same, then refused to name any such state, saying he doesn’t have the information. This is UNacceptable (and FUNCA raised it on HuffPost Live, here.)
Likewise on September 27, Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous physically blocked filming from the General Assembly stakeout, then got MALU to demand that filming stop, from a position from which it is entirely permitted. Video here. This is censorship, and the Free UN Coalition for Access, perhaps UNlike others, is opposing it.
FUNCA will continue to press on UN’s lack of a Freedom of Information Act.
Other issues have arisen in this General Debate: since MALU limits access at times to “wires,” how does it define wire in this new media environment? And why was the Secretary General’s September 27 photo-op with Hadi Al Bahra of the Syrian Opposition Coalition limited to UN Photo?
We the peoples, informed by the press with a right to information: FUNCA will push forward. Contact us, on access issues large and small, through funca [at] FUNCA.info, @FUNCA_info Watch this site.