In a January 17 meeting with the chief of the UN Department of Public Information, the Free UN Coalition for Access raised 16 issues ranging from equitable treatment of different media in office space and getting questions answered to due process rights of journalists. Last week only a short summary was possible. Now FUNCA can say more, in the spirit of transparency.
Progress was made on issues such as fairness in access to the Secretary General and his photo ops, and it seems on some office space and access to the UN issues.
While DPI chief Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal has expressed openness, from issues such as a UN Freedom of Information Act to multi-party press advocacy, this new spirit was not reflected in a January 23 written response by Stephane Dujarric, six days after the meeting.
Dujarric has refused to disclose his response to the New York Civil Liberties Union on the question of journalists’ due process rights. NYCLU on July 5 asked Launsky-Tieffenthal or his charge d’affaires Maher Nasser to state the UN’s rules for informing correspondents such as that filed by Voice of America, which said it had the support of Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Dujarric claimed he replied on June 29, but refused to disclose what the answer was, and what the UN’s rules are.
At the January 17 meeting Dujarric seemed to indicate that journalists would only be told of complaints AFTER they were stripped of accreditation. This is not due process.
UNCA, meanwhile, has not fought on this issue – and can’t. UNCA met “very quietly” with UN officials to seek dis-accreditation, according to documents obtained from Voice of America under the US Freedom of Information Act.
Click here to view UNCA January 22 fake flier, photo credit to FUNCA member Luiz Rampelloto. On January 23, UNCA posted a blurry copy of the MALU rules about losing accreditation. That it seems is the response of UNCA, whose new president has remained silent.
FUNCA will push forward, to get answers to the rest of the 1st 16 issues, and to raise more.