Denying Taiwanese reporters WHA access ‘unacceptable’: IFJ

The United Nations disapproved to grant Taiwanese reporters media accreditation for this year's meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) (Image taken from WHA official website)

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) The United Nations’ disapproval to grant Taiwanese reporters media accreditation for this year’s meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) was “unacceptable,” president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Tuesday.

Philippe Leruth was commenting on the U.N. Secretariat’s rejection of two CNA reporters’ application to register for covering this year’s meeting of WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) — a suppression of press freedom believed to be a result of Beijing’s intervention.

Leruth said he will write to the institutions responsible for the decision to urge them to honor international media’s right to cover the annual event.

Philippe Leruth (Image taken from Youtube)

The U.N.’s decision could lead to news “censorship,” he argued, noting if journalists were denied access to reporting today because of their nationality, their application for credentials could be turned down tomorrow for other reasons.

Leruth told CNA over the phone that “the only criterion” for a news organization to be accredited for reporting should be whether or not the applicants are bona fide reporters.

Leruth just visited Taiwan over the past weekend for the IFJ’s annual general meeting. At the time he was asked at a press to comment on Taiwanese reporters’ being blocked to previous UNESCO events and said that the IFJ will write to UNESCO to express its concerns.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)