The accreditation for two Taiwanese journalists to cover the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland has been denied. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) have strongly criticized the move and called for the journalists to be granted accreditation.
The World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organisation will take place in Geneva, Switzerland on May 21-26. This year, is the second year that Taiwan has not been invited to attend the meeting, having previously attended the annual meeting for eight years. On Monday, CNA Taiwan was told that for the second year its journalists have been denied accreditation to cover the meeting. The email from WHO said: “We regret to inform you that your registration for the meeting has not been approved."
ATJ general secretary, Ian Chen, said: “The UN Secretariat's refusal of accreditation to journalists from Taiwan, is in direct violation of Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by their nationality.We call on all our brothers and sisters in the International Federation of Journalists, to offer their support for press freedom and voice against UN's decision that fosters disparity of care, one that Dr Tedors described as 'utterly unacceptable,' and urge UN to adhere to the principles it claims to uphold.”
ATJ also said that denying access to Taiwan journalists questions the transparency and accountability of the WHO.
IFJ president, Philippe Leruth, said: "The denial of accreditation to two of our Taiwanese colleagues is an insidious form of censorship, as only recognized press documents such as the International Press Card distributed the IFJ should be the criteria to grant a professional accreditation. Besides, it is a blatant violation of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which prohibits any discrimination based on nationality. We call on the United Nations and the World Health Organisation to ensure accreditation for all journalists regardless their nationality to participate in the World Health Assembly and other UN events."
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