Freedom of Media and Expression is Fundamental Human Right

By: Khamis Cosmas Lokudu

On Wednesday 4th – December 2019, Key speakers shared their thoughts during public debate on freedom of Media and expression planned by Association of Media Development in South Sudan.

Last month female journalists and Journalism students at the University of Juba were trained to keep reporting about human rights, freedom of Media and speech in South Sudan. Several activities were accompanied by South Sudan Media Authority to various security organs in the Country supported by Journalists for Human right to accord practicing journalists the right to access of information because media and freedom of expression is considered as fundamental human rights in the world.

Speaking at a forum in Royal Palace Hotel, Atong Majok Kur chairperson of Media Authority said when your right ends then the rights of other people start as a result media and freedom of expression has to be regulated to prevent spread of hate speech and incitement of violence in the country.

She further echoed that Media Authority is a body established by act of parliament for regulation development and promotion of professional media therefore, the role of Media Authority according to section 7 Subsection (1) of media authority act is to regulate and develop Media in the interest of the People of South Sudan not at the individual interest or institution Atong stressed.

Regionally, the right to freedom of expression is recognized in Article 19 of international convention of civic and political right and reflected in article 9 of the African charter on human and people’s right. So freedom of expression is fundamental human right and it’s protected by the constitution of South Sudan under Bill of rights where nobody is supposed to take it away from you like having right to life is the same like having right to expression she added.

For his part, Dr. Raimondo Gerry Lecturer at the School of Law at University of Juba says it is imperative that any practitioner in any field have sound working knowledge of legal and ethical consideration that apply to their occupation, this is especially true with journalists who claim to be providing information and commentary for public good and in the public interest, Journalism is a public vocation. By its very nature, journalism for mass Media implies that any legal or ethical transgression is likely to attract attention immediately.

Gerry added that an editor and news director has cited to recruit this anonymous saying as a lesson in accuracy. ‘’Doctors burry their mistakes, lawyers jail theirs, journalists publish theirs for the entire world to see’’.  This high public profile makes the study of law and professional ethics very important for journalists on three reasons first public accountability, self-protection and professionalism Gerry believed.   

Sunday Peter a participant added her voice confessing that debates on media and freedom of speech should be encouraged so that  citizens who do not know their rights get informed by attending such fruitful discussions , from now onwards I know my right of freedom of expression and hate speech prevention Sunday said, she also recommend that Association of Media development in South Sudan should involve more students at the public Universities to attend such events so that it transform the behavior of the  students especially students of  Mass Communication.

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