UNITED NATIONS - The UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has granted the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) consultative status enabling the independent watchdog group access to UN events, overturning a previous move to block it 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 in a vote on Monday, ECOSOC approved CPJ's application for consultative status - first made in 2012 - by a vote of 40-5 with 6 abstentions.

Apart from Russia and China, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and Rwanda also opposed the resolution, while those abstaining were: Pakistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India and Uganda.

Three of ECOSOC's members didn't vote.

ECOSOC's 19-member committee that deals with non-governmental organizations deferred action on CPJ's application seven times before it voted on May 26 to reject it. China, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Sudan voted against CPJ's accreditation in May.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time he was disappointed that CPJ's accreditation request had been rejected.

On Monday, US Ambassador Samantha Power called the NGO committee's action "outrageous," and the United States decided to launch what turned out to be a successful campaign to reverse the committee's vote in ECOSOC, its parent body.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said Monday's vote recognizes the organization's important role in providing "expert knowledge and analysis on press freedom related issues."

"While we are grateful that the vote finally grants CPJ accreditation," he said in a statement, "we remain disheartened at the politicized process for gaining accreditation and hope that the fact that our application took so long and was so contentious is a wake-up call for the bodies that ensure NGOs are able to access the United Nations."