The World Health Organization (WHO) has shut the media out of a key meeting focused on global tobacco policies, according to information published in yesterday’s Chattanooga Free-Press.
According to Drew Johnson, author of an op-ed covering the matter, leaders of a meeting of signatories of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control banned reporters from covering the proceedings when “a discussion began about efforts to decrease tobacco use by increasing the price of tobacco products.”
Johnson, himself a member of the media attempting to cover the meeting, notes that the WHO’s “parent organization, the United Nations, claims to fight to advance ‘free, independent and pluralistic media’ across the world,” an objective that appears to be at odds with that of meeting leaders who Johnson says “booted” the media.
Johnson says that the decision of meeting leaders to eject media attempting to cover the proceedings “raises some serious questions about an organization that for years has operated largely behind the scenes and without the benefit of much public scrutiny.”
It is not clear whether media will be re-admitted, with the meeting in question expected to run through the remainder of this week.