Wednesday, August 10, 2016

CPJ gets UN accreditation

By Kemo Cham
After a lengthy waiting, the media rights group the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has been granted a consultative status at the United Nations.
The move announced last week followed a tedious process that ended up in voting by the United Nations Economic Social Council (ECOSOC).
With this status CPJ, which is headquartered in New York, will be allowed to access UN bodies and processes, such as the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where accredited NGOs can deliver a counter-narrative to states.
CPJ, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report without fear. In existence for over 30 years, it also documents attacks and abuses against journalists everywhere in the world.
“The council’s vote today [Monday July 25] recognizes the important role that CPJ has played and continues to play at the UN by providing expert knowledge and analysis on press freedom related issues,” Joel Simon, Executive Director of CPJ, was quoted in a statement released by the press freedom body.

CPJ comprises about 40 experts from around the world. The celebrated CNN journalist, Christiane Amanpour, is one of its many renowned members.
The process to grant CPJ the accreditation lasted for four years. It was deferred seven times, on the basis of “arcane UN procedure”, said the CPJ statement.
On the last voted on May 26, CPJ’s application was denied after the UN’s NGO Committee, which decides on such matters, voted against it.
Back then six members voted in favour, 10 voted against, and three abstained. Among those who voted against were China, Russia, Burundi, Pakistan and Venezuela.
But ECOSOC, which comprises 54 member countries, has the authority to overrule the 19-member NGO Committee’s decision, according to UN procedures.
During the July 25 vote, 40 countries voted in favor of the application, five voted against, six members abstained, and three were not present.
All five members which voted against – China, Russia, Vietnam, Rwanda and Zimbabwe – are among countries with the poorest records of press freedom.
“While we are grateful that the vote finally grants CPJ accreditation, we remain disheartened at the politicized process for gaining accreditation and hope that the fact that our application took so long and was so contentious is a wakeup call for the bodies that ensure NGOs are able to access the United Nations,” said Mr Simon.
Below is how the member countries voted:
Afghanistan – yes
Algeria – abstain
Antigua and Barbuda – yes
Argentina – yes
Australia – yes
Bangladesh – abstain
Belgium – yes
Botswana – not present
Brazil – yes
Burkina Faso – abstain
Chile – yes
China – no
Congo – yes
Czech Republic – yes
Democratic Republic of the Congo – not present
Estonia – yes
Finland – yes
France – yes
Georgia – yes
Germany – yes
Ghana- yes
Greece – yes
Guatemala – yes
Guyana – yes
Honduras – yes
India – abstain
Iraq – yes
Ireland – yes
Italy – yes
Japan – yes
Kazakhstan – yes
Lebanon – yes
Mauritania – yes
Moldova – yes
Nigeria – yes
Pakistan – abstain
Panama – yes
Peru – yes
Portugal – yes
Russia – no
Rwanda – no
Serbia – yes
Somalia – not present
South Africa – yes
South Korea – yes
Sweden – yes
Switzerland – yes
Togo – yes
Trinidad and Tobago – yes
Uganda – abstain
UK – yes
USA – yes
Vietnam – no
Zimbabwe – no
© Politico 02/08/16

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