WHY MISHANDLE JOURNALISTS CARRYING OUT ASSIGNMENTS
It is always journalists being mistreated by security agents even when they are on a noble cause of their duties of informing, educating and entertaining the general public. They always end up facing a brush with the law enforcement agents. We ask why this persistence and continued hostility. Last Friday, our national team, Bright Stars hosted Uganda Crane to a nil draw at the Juba National Stadium. Before the match there was a standoff between the security agents and members of the forth-estate. The latter’s crime is going to cover the match and report the same for public consumption. Our friends from the security could not hear or allow the reporters to get in the pitch and do their work. They were stopped even after producing their press cards. The gate was open for them and others from 10am up to the time the games were to start. But it took the grace of God to have them enter and do their work. Some even from the State owned media outlet got thorough beating by the security forces. This did not spare even some officials of the South Sudan Football Association including the President Francis Amin who were denied entry until much later after being noticed as to who they were. Yes it is important for our security forces to do their noble work, but they should understand that journalists are also doing national services to this Nation. The latter deserve respect and not harassment. Why should they be denied access to information in an open and on national assignments like what Bright Stars were charged with. We are calling on the security apparatus to respect the core call of every individual who is carrying out National assignments like the journalists who were covering last Friday’s football match. SSFA needs to ensure they liaise with top security organs for deployment of security agents with understanding and know-how of media relationship. They did not even spare one of their own a senior security officer who for one reason or another tried to reason with them. What a shame! Such behaviors creates bad image for our country.
With Odongo Odoyo
WE HOPE SaTP’S MISSION TO MEET IGP WILL SUCCEED
This time SaTP was fuming fire. He told us that “enough is enough” he was not going to stomach it any longer. He decided it was time to petition the Inspector General of Police or whoever was responsible for the deployment or assignments of security organ in public functions or what he rightly termed “National Assignments.” He took us into lecture hall and reminded us what Martin Luther King Jr once told his audience “we must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools” For those who understand English language, this reference is very strong but appropriate in any situation. SaTP was so pissed off that he swore never to cover any function until Mr. IGP gave him reply or assured him of his safety during such occasion. His bone of contention arose from last Friday football match between Bright Stars and Uganda Cranes. From his own words, he had been assigned to cover this prestigious tournament which was being held in our own soil at the Juba National Stadium. Being a man who would like to be the first for every situation, had made sure of an early lunch and by 10:00am was ready to join other media colleagues from other outlets. He did not tell where they met but somehow they managed to be at the pitch before 12pm. They were ready to cover the big match and inform the public across the country and the world-over, how our football team was taking shape and could play the giants like Uganda Crane which was a big day dream just few years back. Our country was being put in the world map and calendar by our sports men and women and it was just a matter of time for other participants in the region to feel our weight in the sporting arena. Media outlets like the country were over joyed with the shape sports was taking even in uniting the country towards peaceful co-existence. For SaTP and his likes this was a 100 plus achievements to be complemented by the National Dialogue process. SaTP’s hopes were short-lived when they reached at the Stadium. A no-nonsense security organs or they so thought, worked on them and they did not have a chance to share their inside pitch experiences with the outside world. What a shame. A number of media outlets were not allowed inside the stadium and in all fairness, we need to be told why unless someone is trying to put us or create an opaque situation for the country. If so this person must be told a big NO and made to understand that in a developing country a media is a development partner and tool which cannot be ignored or misused. This is why we are supporting SaTP on his mission to meet the IGP for some greenlight on how the security and media is and will continue to inter-relate for the good of all. It is this important.