While UN undergoes renovations, questions arise over media stakeout and access of press

09:25, April 06, 2010      

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As the UN Headquarters undergoes a two-year makeover, the access of the press has to be " revisited," Japanese UN Ambassador Yukio Takasu said here Monday amidst rising concerns from the press over the access to Security Council members.

Takasu, whose country holds the Security Council's rotating presidency for April, addressed several questions from reporters over the updated media stakeout, and called the new physical arrangement a "struggle" to work with. The Japanese ambassador made the statement at his press conference to brief reporters here on the program of work of the 15-nation Council.

"Access to the press should not be deteriorating from the previous arrangement," Takasu said as he reiterated that "it should be as equivalent as possible" to the location held before.

During the two-year renovation project, the temporary Security Council chamber, as well as the consultations room, which allows Council members to discuss and facilitate plans away from the glare of the public in closed meetings, has been moved to the basement of the United Nations General Assembly building.

At the old location, there was a hallway before the media stakeout, which allowed members of the press to engage with Council members, which gave off a level of "informality."

The current stake-out does not offer the same view and opportunity for journalists to ask one-on-one questions as previously.

"I think the secretariat should come up with a proposal," Takasu said. He also acknowledged that it is not a "question of not answering" and that ambassadors sometimes want to leave "the consultations room without being noticed by press at all."

"We need that freedom too sometimes," Takasu said.

The renovation of the chamber, in addition to the revamping of the Security Council's Consultations Room, is part of the overhaul of the iconic UN Secretariat Building, a project that will cost 1. 9 billion U.S. dollars.

Source: Xinhua


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