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UN urged to allow Taiwan journalists to cover WHO meet

DPA
Taipei
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged the United Nations to reverse a decision to deny Taiwanese journalists access to the annual conference of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Switzerland.
“RSF regrets that China’s pressure once again led Taiwanese journalists and media to be denied access to the WHA72. RSF urges the UN to reconsider their decision, as this year’s theme is entitled ‘Universal Health Coverage’,” the global press freedom watchdog said on Facebook and Twitter late on Tuesday .
The 72nd World Health Assembly, which opened in Geneva on Monday, runs throughMay 28.
“The fact that Taiwan reporters, including those from the Central News Agency, are denied access to the World Health Assembly just adds to the frustration experienced by the entire society in Taiwan,” Jenjey Chen, CNA editor-in-chief, told dpa.
“It’s unnecessary for WHO to fear Taiwanese journalists. Instead, it should have welcomed journalists, who help spread key information about essential medicines and health,” Yuan-hui Hu, chairman of the Quality News Development Association, said.
It is the third year in a row that the self-ruled democracy, which Beijing considers part of its territory, has not been invited to the annual meeting of the UN health body.
Between 2008 and 2016, when China-friendly former president Ma Ying-jeou was in power, Taiwan attended as an observer. Taiwanese journalists covering the assembly were given special press accreditation. But since President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took over in Taiwan in May 2016, it has been left out.
“In our collective-panic to appease China, many seem all but eager to abandon Taiwan’s right to press freedom and restrict the island nation’s access to global institutions,” the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun said earlier this month.

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