Even in its beta phase, the Free UN Coalition for Access has been joined by correspondents already in the UN, and some who have been excluded. A few examples of each are below, but to foil attempts at retaliation, only examples are provided. We’ll start with a long time UN correspondent, for La Razon newspaper in Spain, who saw no reason (Razon) to join UNCA, but is FUNCA all the way: Marta Torres Ruiz. Bienvenida!
“It will be my pleasure to join FUNCA at this early stage of chartering a new course and as an advocacy group for the UN corespondents.” –Ahmed Fathi. Media: Alwafd
[Note: FUNCA has raised Ahmed Fathi's meritorious case, close to getting office space over the Dag Hammarskjold Library, then with the 41-45% reduction in space in returning to the main UN building, pushed back. This is unacceptable, and FUNCA will fight.]
A call for future FUNCA action, from the field:
As as simply one example, FUNCA is backing up its member in Hargeisa, Somaliland, on the jailing for one and two years of other journalists there. Another new member from the region says he’s joining “To secure the freedom of access to information of the United Nations.”
Subject: UNCA and Morales
Date: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM
To: funca [at] funca.info
I have to tell you today, that UNCA’s behavior at President Morales’ press conference today is a scandal and an embarrassment for the press corps and the UN! I was shocked to see how that lady in seat 1A refused to let the microphone go, almost like kids fighting for a ball. A disgusting performance watched by the whole world!
I truly hope you will succeed in convincing the UN that times have changed and the childish attitude of some UNCA reporters is a shame! How low to refuse a visiting head of state allow the first question to a reporter of his choice !
UNCA is holding the UN hostage. I trust opposition to this situation will grow stronger and sooner or later the UN will have to recognize that their partner is the PRESS and not UNCA !
I was shocked witnessing how that UNCA lady was fighting for the microphone and disregarding the will of President Morales.
You can pass on this my email to whom it may concern at the UN [and beyond, done.]
“S.D.” Munich Germany
[Click here to see theUNCA fiasco, video here from Minute 4:55]
”Congratulations of establishing FUNCA. Competition, open access and press freedom all go together. I would like to join.” –Joseph Klein, Canada Free Press. To which he added:
A free press requires robust competition on a level playing field to remain free. Although Internet technology, if not restricted by government censors, has vastly broadened the public’s means of accessing and creating diverse sources of information, a non-transparent government with the help or acquiescence of large private media centers still has the power to discriminate among content providers with respect to accessibility to the information that the government monopolizes but which the public has a right to know. This can lead to self-censorship in the press as the price for gaining privileged accessibility. The result is the gradual erosion of a free and honest press.”
Trish S — “Enlist me as a member of FUNCA. That a dues-paid UNCA member is unable to attend UNCA’s own press conferences/events because said correspondent has chosen to leave corp media (ABC News) and work freelance (therefore being deprived of any resident UN passes or UN access to cover events) is highly objectionable and reveals quite pointedly, the Elitism and closed nature of the UN and its circle of journalists.”
Contact us if you’ve been denied access to the UN, or see things that could work better, or to join : funca [at] funca.info
FUNCA – Free United Nations Coalition for Access - questions how the United Nations can make UNCA, which represents less than 225 of the 2500 journalists accredited to to the UN each year, a formal party to the UN’s Media Access Guidelines.
There is a range of accreditation issues on which the UN must do better, and on which it the UN has not been pressed of late. And so we ask: How does the UN decide whom to accredit, and whom to review? See, http://www.nyclu.org/news/nyclu-requests-review-of-uns-process-accrediting-journalists
Contact us if you’ve been denied access to the UN, or see things that could work better : funca [at] funca.info