IFJ Protests Over UN Block on Freedom of Movement for Taiwanese Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned over the World Health Organisation (WHO) decision for the second year a row to refuse accreditation of Taiwanese journalists to cover their 58th annual assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The IFJ, the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, has written to the United Nations calling for the UN to uphold Taiwanese journalists' rights.

"The IFJ is concerned the World Health Organisation (WHO) refusal to accredit Taiwanese journalists is discriminatory and is undermining the ability of the Taiwanese media to cover world affairs," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"Journalists are independent individuals and should not be seen as representatives of their country of origin," said Warren.

IFJ affiliates unanimously endorsed a motion proposed by the Association of Taiwanese journalists, at the IFJ XXIV World Congress at Athens, Greece on 25-30 May 2004 condemning the rejection of the application for accreditation at last year's WHO meeting on the grounds that Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations.

Taiwan has not been a member of the United Nations since 1971, due to opposition from China. Taiwan has likewise been excluded from all UN organisations including the World Health Organisation. In spite of this, Taiwanese journalists have been granted accreditation until last year.

"It is unacceptable that the UN, as a global leader in human rights, would systematically undermine the basic rights of freedom of the press and journalists' rights to report on our world," said Warren.

The IFJ has called on the UN and the WHO to ensure that no future journalists will be denied access to working passports by the WHO or other UN agencies, and be treated as independent observers to major news events.

<center>To read the IFJ protest letter to Kofi Annan click here</center>

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries