Sunday 22 September, 2019

Ministry denies threats against journalists

Photo L-R: Energy Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Lima, HE Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the GECF, Energy Minister Franklin Khan and Manuel Quevedo, Energy Minister of Venezuela.

Photo L-R: Energy Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Lima, HE Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the GECF, Energy Minister Franklin Khan and Manuel Quevedo, Energy Minister of Venezuela.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has denied that any of its staff threatened journalists with forcible removal or police arrests while at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). 

The Ministry referred to an article published by Newsday on Wednesday which said media personnel who attended the Forum at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Wednesday were threatened with forcible removal from the premises and arrest by officers. 

The Ministry denied that the journalists were threatened with removal. 

Their statement is as follows:

"In an article dated 14th November 2018 on the online Newsday, where it was alleged that media personnel were threatened to be forcibly removed from the GECF press conference on the above-mentioned date, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries wishes to advise that an invitation was extended to the media to capture photography for two short sessions only, following which they were invited to a press conference at 1:45 pm where all necessary details would be discussed."

"Two photographers in attendance were informed that they would not be allowed to stay in a stipulated restricted area due to the sensitive matters being discussed where they were also informed of the meeting/ photo op being delayed and they were notified of a waiting area provided for them should they desire to stay until the 1:45 pm press conference. At no time were they threatened to be removed from the Hyatt by police officers nor by any members of staff."

The Ministry said despite this it is committed to 'working hand in hand with all media personnel locally, regionally and internationally so as the keep both the media and the public well informed on all energy-related matters'. 

On Wednesday, Newsday said media personnel arrived after being invited to cover the event when they were told by someone claiming to be a staff member that they should leave the area, or the situation would 'escalate' and they would be forcibly removed by the police. 

The GECF is a group of the world's largest gas producing countries and controls about 67 percent of the world proven natural gas reserves, 65 percent of the LNG trade and 63 percent of pipeline trade of natural gas.

The GCEF includes among its members Peru, Oman, Norway, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia, Qatar, Nigeria, Libya, Iran, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Bolivia and Algeria.

The next session of the GECF will be held in Equatorial Guinea.

 

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