Editorial

A VIBRANT OR A DORMANT MEDIA INDUSTRY

Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary


With Odongo Odoyo

I did not know forehand the gravity and situation that was creeping in the media industry slowly but which seems to be going all out against the media act. I came to know when the Chairman of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Oliver Modi walked in the office with a press release. When l went through it l could not believe at first because initially l had had a long discussion with the Media Authority Chief, Elijah Alier over a number of issues pertaining to media improvement in the country and behaviors of some of our colleagues in the profession. It must be agreed that there is utmost need to have a vibrant and honest media industry. There is this need that the industry must improve with civility and truth. All these said and done, UJOSS’s statement did not do me any good because if it is true that these are happening amongst then there is still a long way to nurture the media into growth. Here below read UJOSS’s statement.

THE PRESS RELEASE

The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) over the last three months has noticed some continuous occurrence of incidents against journalists including harassments, intimidations, arrests, detentions and release without charges in the Country. These incidents include one case in Eastern Lakes State, one case in Aweil State, one case in Yei River State, one case in Western Lakes State, one case in Tombura State and six cases in Juba-Jubek State.

These eleven journalists’ incidents were not legally dealt with in a court of law to prove to the perpetrators whether the journalists alleged were guilty or not. On the other hand, some of these journalists were forced to write some statements that confirm them not to publish un-wanted stories as per the perpetrators interest. Such action is a censorship to journalists and the actions done were contrary to the media laws of the Republic of South Sudan. 

The media Authority law in section 21, talked about the role of Press and Broadcast Complain Council. In sub-section (g), it says the Council “be responsible for receiving and investigating complains brought against the press and broadcast media, including public broadcaster service providers” and in sub-section (h) it says the Council “have initial jurisdiction over all complains against the media and journalists and to resolve such complains through mediation, conciliation or arbitration as it may deem appropriate”. Meaning all complains about journalists that are in line with their work should be address to the Press and Broadcast Council in the office of the media Authority.

Whereas, in Article 24, of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, it talked about establishment of independent, pluralistic and vibrant media, the right of access to information and freedom of expression.

As result, the leadership of the Union of journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) hereby in stronger terms condemned any act against journalists that is done outside the media laws. Despite the current challenges, UJOSS is hereby encouraging all active journalists to be courageous, active and to work within the content of law, their journalism ethics and code of conduct.

The leadership also appeal to the government, and public that let them make use of the laws of the Republic of South Sudan to determine wrong doings of Journalists and media institutions rather than pick, arrest detain, intimidate harass and release journalists without any court ruling to that effect. Such actions are unconstitutional and unlawful against journalists, editors, media managers, opinion writers, media house owners and Institutions. Journalists are neither criminals nor perpetrators but they are there to tell the truth to the public for citizens to make correct decisions and policies at all levels.      

Time has come for all South Sudanese to start the enforcement of law and order, respect to the rule of law, and make justice to all.

Signed

Oliver Modi, Chairperson Union of Journalists of South Sudan

Juba Head Office

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