South Sudan urged to allowed freedom of press & protect journalists

South Sudan's journalists and media partners at AMDISS attending online World Press Freedom Day. Photo Credited: Ochaya James

The US Ambassador has called the government to protect Journalists to help ensure that citizens are informed and described media as “key in democracy.”

Today May 3, the media practitioners commemorate World Press Freedom Day with this year’s theme, “Information as a Public Good.”

Journalists and media partners across the country joined an online discussion on press freedom in South Sudan.

US Ambassador to South Sudan Larry E. André, Jr said the World Press Freedom Day offers an opportunity to point out the abuses perpetrated against journalists and recommend protecting the media community.

He urged the government to stop intimidating journalists, unlawful arrests,  confiscation of equipment and allowed public access to information.

“Just as the government has responsibilities related to freedom of information, journalists have important responsibilities related to ethics and accurate information,” André said.

The Minister of Information and Postal Services, Michael Makuei, denied any restrictions government imposed on journalists. He argued that press freedom is protected by law in South Sudan, and no journalist was taken to court for wrongdoings despite inappropriate reporting.

Makuei warned that journalists could loss their membership or acts ethically. “You need to be abiding by professionalism, respect the rules and ethics of your profession,” He said.

Reporters Without Borders released a new report for this year, 2021, on World Press Freedom Index, indicated South Sudan dropped one spot to a ranking of 139 out of 180 countries.

The report states that journalists have faced harassment, arbitrary detention, torture, and even death in instances where they did not practice self-censorship.

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day observed to raise awareness of the press’s importance and remind governments in 1991.

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