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While members of the VIDA News team were in Geneva during the FCTC COP8 meetings hosted by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), suddenly all press & members of the general public were asked to leave. This video shot at the event offers a glimpse into what ensued.

Since laws and global health policy are being crafted inside these conferences, banning the public and members of the press runs contrary to generally accepted governing principles worldwide & WHO’s own Jakarta Declaration: “Participation is essential to sustain efforts. People have to be at the centre of health promotion action and decision-making processes for them to be effective.”

With over a billion of our neighbors smoking cigarettes, it’s essential we involve them in services designed for their use and improve their access to health information. Withholding information is not only poor health promotion, but it’s also unethical. We call on the UN & WHO to open up these meetings in the future to the public and press. We call on the press not to give up covering the event, as many have done.


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