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UN Guterres To Serve Remarks to UNCA Claiming Event Open to All Correspondents, UNtrue?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 – How untransparent and inaccessible is Antonio Guterres, as UN Secretary General? The last time he held a press conference at UN headquarters was more than five months ago, on January 16.  On that day, Inner City Press asked Guterres why he had not acted on the killings by the Cameroon government and had not even started an audit of the China Energy Fund Committee UN bribery case in which CEFC's UN representative Patrick Ho was and is jailed. Since then, no action on Cameroon and still no audit of CEFC China Energy. On June 22, Guterres met China's deputy minister of security while his spokesman Stephane Dujarric banned Inner City Press' live-stream Periscope. (Later video here).

   Now after five months Guterres will on June 26 finally hold a second press conference. But on the same day, he is also the guest of honor of the United Nations Correspondents Association: “This year marks UNCA's 70th anniversary, celebrating seven decades of journalism committed to reporting on the UN and its many causes and objectives [!]" The Free UN Coalition for Access questions the propriety of this explicit focus by the UN Correspondents Association on the UN's "causes" rather than simply covering the UN as it is; it and corruption are among the reasons Inner City Press quit UNCA (and co-founded FUNCA).

  Now FUNCA has timely sent this: "This is a timely response to your statement that 'The event is open to all UN correspondents, Please RSVP by FRIDAY, June 22nd to Opening Remarks byUN Secretary-General António Guterres, 6:00 pm (LOCATION TBC).' A UN correspondent, by choice not a member of UNCA, is hereby timely requesting to be informed where SG Antonio Guterres will be making remarks, and to cover it. Please confirm receipt and provide response. On deadline, thank you in advance." A full day later, but 5 pm on Friday, June 22, no answer at all. So it is not true, the claim that "the event is open to all correspondents"? If not, then what?

Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has continued to restrict the Press that asks him the most questions, in favor of a no-show Egyptian state media whose correspondent Sanaa Youssef is a former president of UNCA and who hasn't asked the UN a question in more than a decade. Now Dujarric has teamed up with three UNCA members to try to claim that covering his privatization of the UN Press Briefing Room is somehow inappropriately aggressive. This is censorship. We'll have more on this.


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