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Media, NGOs slam UNSC secrecy

18 April 2010 16:07

The UN Secretariat is alienating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the media with restrictions ascribed to a structural renovation, reports suggest.

The UN says the Capital Master Plan (CMP), a five-year restructuring project at the cost of USD 1.9 billion, is aimed at improving working environment with a renovation of the UN Headquarters Complex.

However, the UN Security Council’s decision to bar journalists from the corridor outside the council’s temporary suite of rooms in the UN basement has raised outcries.

The restrictions have also affect NGOs.

“It’s absolutely scandalous,” Jim Paul, executive director of the New York-based Global Policy Forum, was quoted by IPS as saying on Saturday.

The forum is dedicated to the passionate coverage of the UN, but Paul denounced the new rules as an excuse to limit the physical movement of NGO representatives in the UN building.

“The United Nations appears to be getting progressively more hostile to NGOs — and member states appear to be behind this trend,” he maintained.

“It (access) is 10 times more difficult”, complained Paul, who is also a convener of a new ‘NGO Working Group on UN Access’.

The NGO complaint comes after the UN Correspondents’ Association (UNCA) lodged a strong protest in writing to the new UNSC President Yukio Takasu, saying that the body deemed alleged concerns that press presence in deliberations would endanger information “safety,” as nothing but a smokescreen.

“Our position is clear. Any attempt to use the move and/or safety concerns as a pretext to institute unprecedented and unnecessary limitations on press access to the delegations is unacceptable to UNCA members,” the letter read.

Takasu not commented on the issue.

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