World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivers a speech at the World Health Assembly, an annual meeting with health representatives, on May 21, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The World Health Organization blocked Taiwanese media outlets from attending the assembly. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

World Health Organization blocks Taiwanese outlets from attending annual assembly

May 25, 2018 1:46 PM ET

Taipei, May 25, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by the World Health Organization's decision to deny Taiwanese media outlets press accreditation to its annual decision-making function, the World Health Assembly, which started on May 21.

Taiwan was not invited to the assembly this year, and no Taiwanese media outlets were granted press accreditation, according to news reports.

"The barring of Taiwan's journalists from the WHO assembly is especially troubling for the simple reason that global health issues have no respect for borders or nationality," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. "China's persistent efforts to isolate Taiwan should not be allowed to block the reporting of vital health-related news or thwart the UN's mission to uphold press freedom."

During a UN press briefing on May 12, a spokesperson said, "Only journalists coming from countries recognized by the General Assembly could be accredited." Although Taiwan is not a member state of the World Health Organization, it had nonetheless been invited as an observer to attend the annual World Health Assembly for eight years after 2009. Taiwanese media groups were able to attend and report at the summit with press accreditation issued by the World Health Organization but were blocked from attending starting in 2017.

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