Tuesday, July 31

UN Considers Policy to Ignore / Ban Bloggers as Media

Were you aware that there is only one accredited blogger at the UN?

It is news to me, especially considering that I have a half-completed media accreditation application sitting on my desktop. (Here is the Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit homepage.)

There are specific requirements for any application by online media:

- The web publication must belong to a registered company, such as a media organization, and have a specific, verifiable non-web address and a telephone number.

- The online journal requesting accreditation for its correspondent must have a substantial amount of original news content or commentary or analysis on international issues.

- If the web site is new, the applicant seeking accreditation must provide the latest data on the site's visitors or other relevant material (press citations, etc.) about the outlet's audience. The applicant must have an established record of having written extensively on international issues. - UN

I have been too lazy to register FFI as an entity, which has held up completing my application. (Not to mention the lack of web traffic. Seems that they only want popular media to apply.)

The one 'lucky' blogger is Inner City Press. Their website is full of reporting on all the monkey business that goes on within UN Headquarters. Lately, they have been hounding the leadership of the UN Development Programme, UNDP, over the lack of accountability in North Korea, and elsewhere. They appear to be the only organization providing daily coverage of UN scandals and suspected scandals. As they mention, many times they are the only one asking questions about a subject. So it is not like they are 'getting in the way' of 'real' traditional reporters.

Their access, and the possibility of access for others, might be about to change as the UN debates how to handle bloggers.

As Inner City Press reports:

NEW YORK, July 29 -- The United Nations says it wants to engage with bloggers, but only if it can control them. Those it cannot control, it wants to exclude, meeting minutes obtained by Inner City Press reveal.

At least three UN agencies have in the interim adopted policies of not answering questions from bloggers, no matter how widely they're read. From the top of the UN's headquarters building, it's a world of paranoia, a desire to turn back the clock of a type that usually proves fruitless.

In late June in Madrid, the spokespeople for 37 UN agencies met and, according to internal minutes leaked to Inner City Press, agreed that it is "important for the United Nations family to engage with all forms of new media, but that some, such as blogs, present particular challenges for accreditation." - Inner City Press

Like this sort of policy is going to make the problem go away. Tell that to the US Congress which has been on the receiving end of coverage by Blogs who somehow manage to do their jobs without press passes providing access to Capital Hill.

If anything, this is yet another indication that the problems at the UN are much worse than anyone realizes. Amazingly, this story appears to confirm that not only can the media be controlled, as if there was any doubt, but that controlling the media is policy at the UN. Of course to do so, you need the threat of removal, which the UN has the following right:

The Department of Public Information reserves the right to deny or withdraw accreditation of journalists from media organizations whose activities run counter to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, or who abuse the privileges so extended or put the accreditation to improper use or act in a way not consistent with the principles of the Organization. - UN

Too bad this standard does not apply to member states, a number of which whose activities run counter to the UN's Human Rights Principles, nor does it seem to apply to employees of the UN either, who rarely are made to account for poor and even criminal behavior. In some cases when they do leave, they are extended Diplomatic Immunity by way of $1 per year shame jobs.

I had tried to contact the US Mission to the UN in the past, and they too seem to have a policy (official or not) of ignoring queries from Bloggers. My query concerned North Korea. I guess that was not important enough a subject for them.

So go read the rest of the story at Inner City Press here. Then go read the other stories posted on his site. Just be warned, that they might piss you off.

For a summary of UN Activities that I have been keeping track of, check out the following two posts:

Really Damaging the UN's Image, Respectability and Credibility
Really Damaging the UN's Image, Respectability and Credibility - II

Then click on the UN tag below for even more stories.

Note: The UN is welcome to contact me concerning this issue through my email address located in the sidebar. I am most willing to publish any statement they wish to provide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not the proper way to handle the blogger media!
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