Fairness & Free Press Rights Pushed by FUNCA, UNCA Board Hoards Info

While the Free UN Coalition for Access presses for more information for all journalists, the old UNCA Executive Committee appears to only want benefits for its 15 members (or even just the Permanent Five, by analogy).

On February 7, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave lunch and quotes to 13 UNCA Executive Committee members. But other resident correspondents, even UNCA members, received nothing until after 6 pm, and even then only four paragraphs on three topics.

FUNCA had challenged this, though the UN tried to censor some of the questions from their UNTV webcast of Friday’s noon briefing.  The information should have been given out more fairly; that UNCA’s Executive Committee did not even try to ensure this is telling.

On February 5, three representatives of the Free UN Coalition for Access met for an hour with the top brass of the UN Department of Public Information. Some FUNCA-won reforms were confirmed. These include that all correspondents will have equal and unfettered access to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s 38th floor photo-ops. There will be no “pool.” Passes to cover the GA will be distributed through the UN Documents Center. At least Ban Ki-moon’s NYC events outside of the UN will be disclosed in the UN Media Alert, the DPI officials committed.

In a small example of a wider problem, DPI has been trying to limit free speech only to UNCA, with its glassed-in bulletin board. FUNCA has requested that the “UNCA” board be open to all, or for an alternative board. Then, UNCA “activists” moved from counterfeiting FUNCA flyers (and social media) as anonymous insults to tearing them down, censorship 101. Are these the responses of an entity which supports freedom of the speech and of the press? No. In fact, UNCA and its leaders in 2012 engaged in a dis-accreditation campaign to DPI, still under FOIA. We will continue.