IFJ Calls for Lifting of United Nations Ban on Taiwanese Media at World Health Conference

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today issued a new call on the United Nations to lift its four-year ban on Taiwanese journalists from reporting from the World Health Assembly next month accusing the UN of undermining the role of journalism in global campaigns for public health.

“The United Nations is allowing itself to be bullied by China and in the process is chipping away at the values it was created to protect,” said Paco Audije, IFJ Deputy General Secretary.

The IFJ says Taiwanese journalists should be given accreditation like hundreds of other media people who will be covering the World Health Organisation (WHO) annual assembly, which will open in Geneva on May 19th to discuss “A safer future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century”.

But since 2004, the United Nations (UN) Department of Public Information has refused credentials to Taiwan journalists. The IFJ is supporting its affiliate the Association of Taiwan Journalists which is demanding that the ban is lifted.

“These journalists want to inform their public about a crucial debate taking place within the international community,” said Audije. “It is incomprehensible that bureaucratic obstacles should be used to deny journalists from Taiwan access to the forum that will consider the universal need for protection against risks of spreading disease.”

The IFJ says that access should be granted in line with Article 19 of the UN’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights that highlights the “freedom to … seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

The IFJ says that the international disputes over Chinese national sovereignty and territory should not limit the rights of journalists to gather information and is calling on the UN and WHO to give access the Taiwan media.

“These are journalists who want to do their job,” said Audije. “They are not engaged in politics and should not suffer discrimination in this way.”

For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide