Nitty-gritty Commemorating International Day in Ending Impunity against Journalists
By John Agok
South Sudan has joined the World in celebrating the International Day to End Impunity for committing crimes against journalists (IDEI) which happens annually on 2nd November. The event took place in Juba for two days and was officially open by Deputy Minister of information, Communications technology and postal services.
The participants that converged at the occasion were: number of journalists, civil society organizations (CSO) a number of lawyers and judges, and the academia. The theme of this year was to “promotes a safe and conducive media environment for journalists in South Sudan”.
Baba Medan the Deputy Minister of Information said in his opening remarks that, “ there is a need for media houses to report cases of injustice to journalists through Media Authority as the relevant body tasked by the government in dealing with media issues in the country”, he said.
Medan reiterated “on being patriotic and having a sense of Nationalism than being influence by foreign elements in the profession, some of journalists here are being cautioned to become foreign agents and this is not what we want as government, we want to build vibrant and independent media in our society that promote good governance and democracy for the benefits of public interest”, he added.
Medan urged South Sudan Journalists to go for tertiary education in building their capacity and to enabling them to compete in regional and international arena of Modern journalism, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Doreen Loboka the UNESCO representative highlighted some of the specific risks that journalists face in their quest to uncover the truth. “On this day, I call on everyone to join the campaign, and all members states and International and non-governmental organizations to join forces to guarantee the safety of journalists and root out impunity,” she said.
“We must move away from talking and walk the talk and also urging the stakeholders to establish quickly the National Mechanism to protect journalists is very key,” she added.
“Paul Yoanas Boju the chairperson of information Committee in Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) called on National Security Act (NSA 2013) to be revive or amended in the parliament so that it cannot jeopardizes the media laws, otherwise we are not all safe including me as a legislator, but in the meant time let me just tell you that, let us persevere with situation where these security organs carry on arbitrary arrest and detention and later on pardon them at their mercy, which shouldn’t be case here, we should have follow the media laws,” he added.
“Edmond Yakani the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for progress Organization (CEPO) condemned the privatization of public interest by some of the elites who pressed down some information not to be cover by journalists for public to know, there is freedom of expression and access to information which is stipulated in the constitution. And this is the problem to us South Sudanese, when we disagree in conflicting resolutions we become hesitant to reveal information to the public,” he added.
“Elijah Alier the Managing Director of Media Authority revealed that, the cases of removal of articles from Newspapers by National Security at the printing press have now subsequently reduce due to tangible tendencies of editors from media houses cooperation with Media authority and security”, he said.
“Alier also said in the same note, editors have managed their best to avoid and reduce number of hate speech and incitement of violence cases over the four years now. I am also breaking news to you that, at end of this month we will have the code of conduct pass as it is now in its final stage,” he added.
“Professor Chaplain Kara the dean of Journalism and Communication in University of Juba called on the immediate nullification of National Security Act 2013 which sensed as copy and paste of foreign element, it is not incorporating our interest as South Sudanese and it is favoring some others to become untouchable,” he added.
“Majur Chol the participant representing journalists called on Media Authority and security representatives to be present during any occasions that bring journalists and relevant stakeholders together for them to listen to our questions and answer our grievances,” he concluded.
This year the number of journalists killed while doing their duty in South Sudan are two and 900 across the World.