Global journalist group urges WHO to grant Taiwan media press access News
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Global journalist group urges WHO to grant Taiwan media press access

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded on Wednesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) allow journalists from around the world to cover its annual decision-making meeting, the World Health Assembly, and provide press accreditation to Taiwanese media. The call arose after two journalists from Taiwan were asked to provide Chinese passports for accreditation.

Ahead of the UN 77th Annual Assembly on May 27, two journalists from CNA, a Taiwanese media service, Judy Tseng and Tien Hsi-ju applied for interview permits from the UN representatives and received a rejection. In response, the UN asked the journalists to provide an official Chinese passport, though they confirmed their nationality by providing a Taiwan passport. Journalists also reported that earlier they were also denied access to the UN assembly in 2022.

Iris Hsu, CPJ’s representative in China, said that a journalist’s nationality should not be a factor in their eligibility for accreditation to cover a conference on global health issues. She also noted that the WHO and the UN should refuse to cooperate with the Chinese authorities in trying to prevent Taiwanese journalists from spreading information about health policy. Central News Agency’s editor-in-chief Chris Wang added that the WHO’s decision denies 24 million Taiwanese people’s right to know. 

Association of Taiwanian Journalists, also stated that such a UN decision to cover public health issues that are directly relevant to Taiwan and the world by Taiwanese journalists is a serious violation of the UN Charter and universal values like freedom of speech and press.

Taiwan is a disputed territory with China and WHO, as a UN agency, does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country. The UN office in Geneva notified CPJ by email that accreditation would be given to individuals who represent media organizations that are registered in countries recognized by the UN.