His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
United Nations Organisation
New York, NY10017 – USA
Via email: [email protected]
cc. Dr Margaret Chan, Director General, WHO c/o [email protected]
Dear Secretary-General Ban,
The Hong Kong Journalists Association is deeply concerned over the rejection of accreditation for Taiwanese journalists to cover the 60th annual World Health Assembly in Geneva.
We are concerned that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) refusal to accredit Taiwanese journalists, for the fourth year in a row, to cover the event is discriminatory and undermines the ability of the Taiwanese media to cover world affairs.
Journalists are independent individuals and should not be seen as representatives of their country of origin. It is important that Taiwanese journalists are free to cover all major events, including the WHO annual meeting in Geneva from May 14.
The refusal of accreditation not only disregards journalists’ rights, but also disregards the free flow of information to the public.
It is unacceptable that the UN, as the global leader in human rights issues, would systematically undermine the basic rights of freedom of the press and journalists’ rights to report on our world.
Health issues transcend territorial boundaries, and should also transcend politics.
Globalisation has increased cross-border exchanges, which has heightened the risk of diseases spreading across borders. It is, therefore, in the interest of all peoples that information concerning the WHA be disseminated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The HKJA calls on the UN to adhere to Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, return to its original policy of providing credentials to journalists irrespective of their nationality, and work to ensure that no journalists are denied access to major news events in the future. We also call on the UN to set a high standard of press freedom and uphold basic journalistic rights by allowing our Taiwanese colleagues to attend and report on the World Health Assembly.
2006-07 Executive Committee, HKJA