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JUBA - 20 Nov 2019

UJOSS decries press freedom violations in South Sudan

Photo: UJOSS’s Chairperson Oliver Modi
Photo: UJOSS’s Chairperson Oliver Modi

The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) has decried increasing cases of press freedom violations by security personnel in recent months.

In a statement extended to Radio Tamazuj on Monday, UJOSS’s chairperson, Oliver Modi said the union has recorded more than 10 cases of harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention of journalists in Tambura, Aweil, Eastern Lakes, Western Lakes, Jubek and Yei River states.

“The Union of journalists in South Sudan has registered more than 10 incidents, which include one case in Tambura, one in Aweil state, one case in Eastern Lakes state, one case in Western Lakes state, six cases in Juba and one case in Yei River State,” Modi said.

“The journalists are illegally arrested, detained and harassed while others tortured and all these are done on journalists,” he added.

Oliver further said due to the violations against media practitioners, many journalists are afraid to operate in South Sudan while others have fled the country for their own safety.

“These issues have made journalists scared to report the truth and this came at a time where journalists are to be set free to report what is happening in the country more especially on the revitalized peace agreement and also the formation of the government and we need journalists to be free to tell the truth in South Sudan,” he explained.

Oliver called on the national government to ensure that journalists are protected so that the role of the media is realized in promoting peace and development.

“Journalists are not politicians and criminals, journalists are in the front line of development in any country. My call to the government more especially the legislature, judiciary and executive needs to understand that the role of the media has been factored in the transitional constitution but there are people taking the laws of South Sudan into their hands and as a union of journalists, we will not allow these mistakes to continue in 2020,”  he stressed.

Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, dozens of journalists have been subject to intimidation, arrest, censorship and violence.