Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth during the National Media Policy Symposium yesterday (photo by Viola Matela):

By Viola Matela

The National Minister of Information, Communication and Postal Services, has urged Journalists in the country to abide by the law and respect it all times since it is the same law that grants them the freedom to practice.

“These freedoms and rights are given according to the law, it doesn’t mean you step on the toes of others,” Michael Makuei Lueth said yesterday during the first National Media Policy Symposium in Juba. “The most important thing is to exercise these rights within the law. Don’t go astray because the law gives you that freedom.”

The objective of the symposium according to Makuei was to sensitize people on the role of the Media Authority as a regulator of the media sector as well as the National Communications Authority that regulates frequencies with the approval of the Media Authority.

“There are some who have misunderstood the Media Authority. They are saying it is another weapon of oppression used by the government. This is not correct and every journalist is supposed to abide by the law. This is why the Media Authority is here-to show the journalists the direction,” Makuei added.

He noted the fact that one was a journalist did not make the above the law or that they are free to do or say whatever they want warning that failure to keep the law would land them in the courts of law.

“Some of the journalists have not yet been taken to the court but I’m sure some will go soon because if you step on my toes, I will take you to the courts and demand compensation that you will not be able to pay,” he said.

He further argued that the same law which gives media that right was the same law that protects other people’s rights.

“It doesn’t give you the freedom to step on my toes and I keep quiet because it is your right. There’s no law that will allow you to do that so my advice to the journalists is just follow the law and you’ll not be in trouble with anybody,” Makuei reiterated.

The information minister insisted that as a journalist, one ought to be professional, fair, objective and honest at all times in reporting.

The first National Media Policy Symposium held yesterday attracted all State Ministers of Information to Juba under the theme; “strengthening media in South Sudan towards professional, vibrant and free media for all.”

It was organized by the Media Authority in collaboration with Journalists for Human Rights, Canada’s leading media development organization.

The event was attended by members of the academia, Cabinet, State Secretariat, State Ministers of Information, National Security Services, National Police Services, South Sudan People’s Defense Forces, Media Development Institutions, Judiciary, Media, UN agencies, NGOs and CSOs.

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