Reporters Without Borders urges ICAO to grant Taiwan media access

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which monitors freedom of speech around the world, on Friday denounced the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for barring Taiwanese journalists from covering its triennial assembly in Montreal, and urged the organization to immediately grant access to these journalists.

"Journalists should not be prohibited from covering events because of their nationality or the nationality of the media they are affiliated with," Delphine Halgand, the U.S. director of RSF, said in a statement.

"The work of the International Civil Aviation Organization is of important public interest and should not be restricted (from) journalists from Taiwan for political reasons," Halgand said.

The RSF noted that Taiwanese journalist Chang Chia (??), who works for the United Daily News, was told that her accreditation was refused because of her Taiwanese nationality, while Hu Yu-li (???), a reporter for Taiwan's Central News Agency who has Canadian nationality, was told she could not be accredited to cover the meetings because she writes for a Taiwan news agency.

"RSF calls on the ICAO to immediately grant these journalists access to this important event," the statement said.

The assembly is being held in Montreal, Canada, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7. The ICAO is a U.N. specialized agency responsible for establishing worldwide aviation policies.

It's widely believed that Taiwan, which is not an ICAO member, was not invited to this year's ICAO Assembly because of objections from Beijing, and all journalists for Taiwanese media have also been denied access to the event.

In 2013, the ICAO initially also rejected all applications from Taiwanese journalists to cover its 38th assembly but changed its policy after Taiwan was invited to attend the meeting based on an endorsement from Beijing.

Relations between the two sides were at the best they had been since the two sides have been ruled separately following the end of the Chinese civil war.

Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office on May 20. Since May 20, China has suggested that Taiwan will be unable to participate in international organizations or meetings without Tsai's administration accepting a cross-strait relations political foundation that embodies the "one China" principle, under which Beijing defines the two sides as part of one China.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel