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Civil society condemns removal of articles

By Bullen Bala Alexander

Civil societies groups have condemned the acts of some security agencies for removing articles on newspapers demanding for an argent investigation on the matter.

Yesterday (Thursday), an article titled “Legality of the President Kiir’s Action in Appointing State governments” was removed from Juba Monitor newspaper by security agencies at the printing press, the motive behind remained unclear.

The article further concluded “the appointment of the State Governments by the President is part of the duties of the President as agreed by the Council of Ministers and the Presidency. Thus, the President acted in accordance with the Revitalized Agreement and the appointment is legal under the laws of South Sudan.”

Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said the practice of removing the articles from the papers was so disappointing and discouraging to the public which should not continue.

“As a civil society we condemn the act or the practices by our security agencies and we are saying it is against the freedom of expression, anyone doing such things is against the peace in the country,  

“Specifically any debate about peace implementation, I don’t think it should be taken negatively or politically, therefore our appeal to the Media Authority is that they have the role to play where debates around peace agreement implementation are free without restrictions whether in the media or public domain as far as information is concerned,” Yakani added.

He further revealed that for the Revitalized Peace Agreement to succeed there is need for freedom of expression and opinion to exist.

He stated that anywhere in the world, a country that restricts freedom of speech or opinion and freedom of expression, there is always lack of peace in such countries saying doing such acts in the country is sending bad message to the outside countries that we are not for peace.

“As a way forward, we are urging the government and the concerned authorities to address such issues including the Media Authority to investigate what is happening to these articles and also let them come out and speak out about those miss practices and why now,” he questioned.

Meanwhile, Rajab Mohandis the Executive Director Organization for Responsive Governance revealed that one of the reasons for South Sudanese to go against the Khartoum people was about the freedom of speech.

“This is quiet unfortunate for the country because if you look at the purpose for which people wanted South Sudan to be independent, it was because of these things that Khartoum was doing.”

“Ideally people did not want Khartoum government and people went to fight because of these restrictions and threats against media personnel and it was exactly what the movement was against which they said was not acceptable, now it is a surprise for some of us to see what we are against to turn to good,” Mohandis revealed.

He said the practice does not match with the promises of South Sudan as stated in the declaration of independent adding that it does not look good to see what South Sudan was against to go back and start doing it.

Mohandis believes that the government has the responsibility to create an environment that allows people to speak out freely and allow the press to report without restrictions.

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