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UN Overturns Russian, Chinese Bid To Block Press Freedom Group

A United Nations council overturned a move by Russia, China, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and other countries to block accreditation for media freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists.

The UN's Economic and Social Council granted the journalism group consultative status and access to UN events in a 40 to 5 vote on July 25, overturning a previous move to block the group by the UN's Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

China and Russia, who had led the campaign to block the group in May, voted to maintain the blockade and said there was no reason to revisit the earlier decision.

But U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power argued that the committee's rejection was "outrageous" and "undermined the UN's credibility when we call on governments to respect the rights of civil society within their own countries."

"In recent years...we have seen the committee systematically abuse its authority to delay the applications of qualified organizations," Power said. "As in the case of CPJ, often times these organizations seem to be delayed simply because their work is critical of governments."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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