Simon Ateba is a journalist working for the online news outlet Today News Africa where he works as the Chief White House Correspondent. He has been trending on social media on Friday, May 13 after he repeatedly shouted a question about fair access in the room as White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave her final briefing to the reporters.
Simon Ateba Career
Before his stint as the White House Correspondet for Today News Africa, Ateba worked for The News magazine in Nigeria for a period of nine years. He was featured in the documetary, “Nigeria’s Millionaire Preachers” where he highlighted how religion has turned into a business in the Western African country.
In 2015, Ateba came onto the authorities’ radar after the Cameroonian authorities accused him of spying for Boko Haram as he worked as an investigative journalist covering Nigerian refugess camped in the country.
At the time of his arrest, Ateba was based in Lagos, Nigeria, and had traveled to Cameroon after receiving a grant from the International Center for Investigative Reporting in Abuja. At the time, he was working as an invetigative journalist covering the ordeals and suffering of Nigerians who had fled to Cameroon following Boko Haram attacks on their communities. He was released after being detained for four days. Ateba’s arrest and detention were condemned by the Cameroon Journalist Trade Union.
Simon Ateba Say and Jen Psaki
During Psaki’s final briefing, Ateba was heard shouting “Why don’t you take a question from across the room?” His question came as AP reporter Zeke Miller attempted to ask a question on the ongoing baby formula shortage.
Because that’s not what you’ve done for the past 15 months,” Ateba shouted again. “Jen, can I ask you a question from the back?” the Cameroonian native was heard saying. “Jen, can I ask you a question from the back?”
— Debunktion Junction (@DebunkJunction) May 13, 2022
The reporters in the front row who attempted to question Psaki were not amused by the persistent interruption from Ateba and on NPR’s Tamara Keith turned around and urged him to desist. “Simon, please, stop,” she said.
Her attempt seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as Ateba continued to shout over other reporters in the room, until Psaki finally turned to him to say, “Simon, if you can respect your colleagues and other media and reporters in here, that would be greatly appreciated.”
The altercation with Psaki is not the first encounter. In December 2021, Ateba questioned Jen Psaki about the Omicron-linked travel ban President Biden imposed on eight African nations. A year and a half later, he asked the White House for comments on the altercation between actor Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.
Simon Ateba Twitter
On Twitter, Ateba describes himself as the Chief White House Correspondent @todaynewsafrica in Washington. ‘Every person I meet has a gift and a talent that I do not have, and in that, I learn from them’