Taiwan protests after ICAO bars Taiwanese media from assembly

Taiwan on Monday protested the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO's) refusal to allow Taiwanese media to cover its 39th triennial assembly slated to open Sept. 27 in Montreal, to which Taiwan was not invited to attend.

The government deeply regrets the ICAO's disregard for press freedom and will write to the U.N. specialized agency to lodge a serious protest, Taiwan's representative to Canada, Kung Chung-cheng (???), said in a news conference.

As an international organization responsible for global aviation safety, the ICAO should maintain its neutrality and integrity, Kung said.

He also said Taiwan's exclusion from the ICAO Assembly is a major loss to the organization's effort to achieve a "seamless sky."

Taiwan was not invited to this year's ICAO Assembly, most likely because of objections from Beijing, and all journalists for Taiwanese media have also been denied access to the event, including a CNA correspondent in Canada who holds a Canadian passport.

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.

Expressing support for Taiwan, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Monday that the ICAO should allow journalists to cover its events regardless of where they are from or where their employers are located.

"Journalists play a vital role in ensuring that the International Civil Aviation Organization transparently fulfills its mission," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said in a statement.

"As an agency of the United Nations, which is charged with upholding freedom of expression, the ICAO should accredit journalists irrespective of the news organization for which they work," he added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel