In 2015, UN Officials Should Answer Questions, Not Given in Advance, No Set Asides

In 2015 at the UN, senior officials should without exception answer questions from the media. Questions should not be requested or given in advance, the Free UN Coalition for Access posits; if for some reason for example language they are, it should be disclosed.

On disclosure more generally, the UN system starting with its Secretariat should have and abide by a Freedom of Information policy. On the right to impart information, the UN should adopt and apply content neutral access and accreditation rules.

While transparency, accountability and access to information begin at the top, day to day implementation is often in the hands of the UN’s departments, including the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations, Political Affairs and, with new leadership this year, the Department of Public Information.

All journalists and those who cover the UN system are stakeholders in DPI and should be consulted and heard. There should be no privileged positions, and no set-aside first questions, FUNCA asserts.

As arose on January 2, 2015 — and was exposed and opposed by FUNCA — UN events such as photo opportunities should be made available to all journalists; notice should be provided without favoritism.

UN embargoed documents should at least be made available to all UN system accredited journalists, not only as just happened to those media organizations which has afford to have a correspondent at the UN in Geneva.

FUNCA immediately wrote and asked that the embargoed reports not be so restricted in distribution, noting for example that the UN in Nairobi does not restrict its embargoed reports to media with reporters in the Kenyan capital. So why should UNOG? On that, and on the prospective return of censors in UNHQ, without compettion, we’ll have more. Watch this space.