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UN Bans Press Reporting on Whistleblowers as BBC Lets Guterres Off Hook By Audio Theft

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC-Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN NY Mag

UN GATE, June 21 – The UN's retaliation is not limited to banning Inner City Press that Secretary General Antonio Guterres doesn't like - he also fired and penalizes UN staff who dare speak out about the Organization's abuses.  

 On June 16, a week before a documentary on the topic that includes leaked audio first published by Inner City Press, Inner City Press asked UN Spokespeople Stephane Dujarric, Farhan Haq and Melissa Fleming:

"What are the comments and actions if any of SG Guterres on the BBC piece about UN whistleblowers being retaliated against, set for worldwide view on June 21 but presumably already in the SG's awareness? See this."

 No answer from the UN. Instead, they arranged for a colloquy about a useless "hot line" with pro-UN Qatar state media, which asked about Guterres now acting on these "new" cases of sexual misconduct. But the hands down the pants happened long ago, and was exposed by Inner City Press - and the audio used without credit in the documentary shows Guterres covered it up.

 While Team Guterres has not answered Inner City Press, on June 20 BBC World tweeted, "The BBC was handed a secret recording of Ben Swanson, staff had come to him in tears describing how an assistant secretary general had put his hand down her trousers."

HANDED? Inner City Press exclusively published the audio long ago on SoundCloud here. It has asked the BBC about it, and why its correspondents so rare ask about UN wrongdoing including banning Press, in which some of them have colluded.

BBC's arch response: "Reference CAS-7209948-F6D6K3  Dear Matthew,  Many thanks for contacting us about ‘The Whistleblowers: Inside the UN’, and our reporting around this story.  We’ve discussed your complaint with the programme team. An audio clip featuring Ben Swanson, director of the investigations division of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) at the UN, was given to us...we don’t see any need to credit this further.  We hope this helps to clarify matters and wish you all the best,  BBC Complaints Team   Please note: this email is sent from an unmonitored address so please don’t reply. If necessary please contact us through our webform (please include your case reference number)." Not even a "previously published by Inner City Press." And BBC did not even bother to send anyone to the June 21 noon briefing to ask.

   Who is responsible? Director Ben Steele, producer Jennifer O'Mahony and others. Their above-quoted sleight of hand in crediting is not just worst practice - it lets the UN and Guterres off the hook. The BBC reports, "The office of the UN Secretary General says it remains committed to "sanctioning any staff, junior or senior, found to have engaged in sexual harassment". This this ignores that the UN has been aware of the hands down the pants audio for MORE THAN A YEAR, when Inner City Press exclusively first published it and asked the UN about it. We'll have more on this - and on others responsible.



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