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IPI condemns ongoing refusal to accredit Taiwanese journalists as "a serious violation of press freedom"

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI press release:

IPI Urges the United Nations to Grant Equal Access to Taiwanese Journalists

Vienna, 11 April 2008 - The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, expresses concern regarding the refusal by the United Nations (UN) to grant press passes to journalists carrying Taiwanese passports or working for Taiwanese media outlets.

According to information before IPI, for the past four years, Taiwanese journalists have been barred from covering the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The refusal to accredit Taiwanese journalists has been based on the fact that Taiwan is not a member of the UN.

IPI regards this decision as a serious violation of press freedom and the principle of universality of human rights. Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights grants everyone the right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

In addition, Article 2 of the Declaration provides that all rights set forth therein apply to everyone, and that "no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

Accordingly, it remains difficult to understand the justification for the UN's discrimination against certain journalists based on the political status of the country to which they belong.

Condemning the practice of linking journalistic accreditation to a country's UN membership, IPI Director David Dadge stated, "administrative obstacles to press freedom and access to information are serious human rights violations. We urge the UN to revise such policies so they properly reflect the fundamental UN principles of equality and respect for press freedom. If this is not done, there is a very real danger to members of the Taiwanese public, who rely on the media for information about public health matters."

Updates alerts on the non-accreditation of Taiwanese journalists:

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