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FCTC boots public from plenary hall

14 Oct 2014.

Delegates to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Moscow opted to bar the public, including media representatives, from their plenary session, according to two accounts.

Following ejection of tobacco industry observers, expert groups and some media representatives from the viewing gallery from the 13 Oct opening session, all accredited media were kept from the hall on the following day, a Russian journalist told TJI. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) is scheduled to close on 18 Oct.

“Hidden agendas corrupt policy-making processes”, commented Michiel Reerink, vice president for global regulatory strategy at Japan Tobacco International. “COP is again hijacked by tobacco control lobbyists who freely exercise undue influence. We urge the FCTC to take every remaining opportunity to fix this broken process,” Reerink said in a prepared statement.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in the text of her COP6 opening address, said “, despite the fact that we are facing new threats, like the Ebola virus, we still draw your attention to the fact that tobacco control remains our main priority.”

COP meetings are held semi-annually to review and expand the scope of the FCTC. COP sessions in Korea two years ago and Uruguay in 2010 also were closed to outside observers.

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