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IFJ calls for full access as World Health Forum opens door to Taiwanese journalists

(IFJ/IFEX) - 20 May 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today welcomed the decision of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to lift the five-year ban on Taiwanese journalists who will now be able cover the World Health Assembly from 18-22 May in Geneva.

The Association of Taiwanese Journalists (ATJ), an IFJ affiliate, said that the WHO has given accreditation to its members to cover this year's World Health Assembly in Geneva. However, the journalists will be issued with the WHO green press cards instead of the UN blue ones and will not have access to press facilities.

"We welcome the decision of the WHO to lift this discriminatory ban on Taiwanese journalists," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "However, there are still some restrictions on our colleagues, including an absurd ban on access to and use of press facilities. The United Nations must give full accreditation rights to our colleagues in Taiwan."

Since 2004, the United Nations (UN) Department of Public Information has refused credentials to Taiwanese journalists. The IFJ has supported the AJT in its campaign to lift the ban and recently raised this matter with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, during his visit to Brussels in April 2009.

"We made it clear that the UN double standards in its treatment of Taiwanese journalists are untenable," added White. "The WHO decision is a step in the right direction but we look to the UN to give full accreditation and equal rights to Taiwanese media."

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