The United Kingdom Ambassador to South Sudan Chris Trott has condemned media harassment and censorship in South Sudan.
Diplomate condemnation come during the celebration of International Day to End Impunity for crime committed against journalists.
The Media practitioners’ concern of security interference with journalists’ activities and calls for cooperation between the media and policy makers.
Hundreds of journalists gathered in Juba for a two-day campaign with calls to Ending Impunity against the Journalists.
The event aims of promoting a safe and conducive Media Environment in South Sudan. Several stakeholders in the media sector, diplomats and government officials attended the day.
The UK Ambassador to South Sudan Chris Trott said journalists’ situation remained challenges while the media freedom is vital in the Country. He expressed concerns of random censorship that leaves a blank section of newspaper without story publishes, describe it as “embarrassing”.
“We believe people must able to discuss and debate issues including around peace freely. When we are able to discuss ideas without fear of persecution, we will benefit from regionalism and creativity of entire population and they will be able to make better inform decision” Trott said.
The Chairperson of Association for Media Development in South Sudan– AMDISS said Journalists continue to be arrests, intimates by the security officers despite the country is working to achieve peace through revitalized agreement.
Mary Ajith urge the authority to protect, prevent journalists and prosecute those against the media freedom.
“The security is supposed to attend our events because they interfered with our work, they interfered with the work of Media Authority, the work of Access to Information Commission and interfered with the work of South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation. They should be always here with us.
She said media institution find it hard to follow the case if staff members disappear due to lack of proper channel from the security.
“It is difficult to follow up the cases of journalists because you will be referred to police, you will be referred to fire brigade, and you will be told journalists were taken up by national security. It is all about confusion. We need to harmonize our work”.
The media regulatory body said public has right to accurate and balance information to enable them hold government accountable on political, economic and social issues.
Elijiah Alier Kuai, the Managing Director of Media Authority warned the media not to promote hate speeches that incite violence.
“The rate of media violation in South Sudan tremendously reducing the operationalization of Media Authority in 2017. The roles of security organs and media stakeholders are being streamlining to promote to enhance conducive environment with respect for human rights, essential promotion of democracy and good governance” He stated.
United Nations scientific Education and Cultural Organization –UNSECO asks for cooperation between the media stakeholders include security, ministry, Media Authority and journalists to protect press freedom in the country.
Doreen Wudu work for UNSECO in South Sudan. She highlights measures her organization put in place to End Impunity
“We need to put measures aim of ensuring ending impunity against the journalists or other citizens. I also would like to add that the perpetrators of these crimes go unpunished; journalists are essentially presented the fundamental rights to freedom of expression guaranteed in article 19, and also in our constitution”
Wulul called the government to exercise its power obligation to protect journalists and ensure that the perpetrators of those crimes are held accountable”.
The Report Without Borders ranged South Sudan 138 out of 180 within the world press freedom index this year. Ten journalists were reported killed in South Sudan since 2014.