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UN Guterres Takes 5 Qs from Ex-Reuters, VOA, Cites Lebanon Loans, Now UN Covers Up Cameroon

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres took five media questions on October 4, all of them were on climate change, and his trip to Antigua and Barbuda. With the UN for example refusing to given any estimate of how many civilians Paul Biya killed this week in Cameroon, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the first question to Voice of America (on climate change), then AP and SABC, then an ex-Reuters reporter who called the US the "elephant in the region." For this, Dujarric canceled the UN's noon briefing on all other topics, while refusing to answer the majority of questions which Inner City Press submits to him and his deputy by email. Guterres cited as a precedent the World Bank loans to Jordan and Lebanon. Inner City Press previously asked him about these, before he became responsible for UN censorship of the Press and cover ups in Cameroon and elsewhere. On September 5 when Guterres took stakeout questions, more than half of them were about North Korea, an issue on which Guterres and the UN Secretariat have almost no impact. Inner City Press, which has seen 15 of its 17 questions in the past week to Guterres' spokesman UNanswered from Cameroon to Sri Lanka to Burundi, loudly asked Guterres if he has any update to its praise of Kenay's now reversed election. Guterres stopped - and then bragged that his official letter (a belated one on Myanmar) will be in Dujarric's answer. How transparent. Not a single question, or even sentence, was about Africa, where most of the UN's peacekeeping operations are. When Guterres took five questions on August 16 after a two week vacation, Inner City Press tried to ask him about the UN bribery verdict against Ng Lap Seng rendered by a jury in lower Manhattan just before he left. Guterres heard the question, but did not answer. Video here.

Instead, his deputy spokesman Farhan Haq handpicked five questioners, two on U.S. President Donald Trump and the first on Venezuela, in response to which Guterres read from notes. Reuters was called on second, asked two questions then later began a third. The UN Correspondents Association president invited Guterres to distinguish himself from Trump, which Guterres coyly did and didn't do.

Then when Inner City Press asked about the Ng Lap Seng guilty verdict, Guterres swept the question away with his and and left with Maher Nasser the acting chief of his Department of Public Information, which without due process evicted and still restricts Inner City Press for pursuing the Ng Lap Seng bribery scandal in the UN Press Briefing Room.

Guterres and his deputy Amina J. Mohammed have both received a petition with over 2,000 signatures to end the restrictions on the Press, particularly after the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts.

But there is silence, invisibility, then pre-screened questions. Even among those, nothing on Syria, Yemen, or Libya where Guterres' envoy has praised the Italian Navy's cooperation with the Libyan coast guard, or Kenya where a recent UN official has been banned from travel in connection with electoral irregularities, much less Burundian refugees and abuses by Cameroon. On Western Sahara, moments after Guterres' stakeout, Horst Kohler was belatedly named to the long empty envoy position. We'll have more on this.


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