Media/Press Censorship Is an absurd and Unconstitutional!

By Gai James Kai.

Two of South Sudan's media houses have been shutdown and editors report strict warnings from the government officials this week to suppress federalism debate(Photo: cropped by Nyamile)

Two of South Sudan’s media houses have been shutdown and editors report strict warnings from the government officials this week to suppress federalism debate(Photo: cropped by Nyamile)

July 4, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Constitutionally,  Part two, Article 24; of our Transitional Constitution (2011); Clause (1) says,  ” Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of expression,  reception and dissemination of information,  publication and access to the press without prejudice to public order,  safety or morals as prescribed by law”. Clause (2), “All levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society”

However, Thursday June 3rd, 2014 marked a shocking
day in the South Sudan’s media history for being the day of confiscating 15,000 copies of the
largest and most popular newspapers, the South Sudan’s Juba dially monitor simply because of published the debate on federation. This resulted into losses of thousands of Pounds on the first day. It’s not the first if its kind though,  Citizens newspapers was shut down often and the recent intimidation on our very own Nyamilepedia by Makuei Lueth all amounts to violation of human rights and unconstitutionalism.

Nevertheless,  South Sudan Human Right Activists (SSHRA) and South Sudanese Lawyers Fraternity (SSLF) has tried often to advocates for media freedom,  Stop Online Piracy and had a petition on their website which gained over 10 thousand signatures. Also many of us spread the word of the wrongs of Juba government on to our social networks, and some went as far as writing representatives in National Legislative Assembly-NLA . I wrote 4 of them.

Well, victory was short lived. A couple days after rejoicing about media’s independence being repealed, I noticed a new e-mail on my in-boxe yesterday
morning, explaining how Kiir’s government confiscated the dailly monitor’s copies.

In reality, media freedom in South Sudan is just a mere nationals’ wishes. Salva Kiir and his tribal security agents will ever censored press and the same thing shall always be imposed onto ordinary internet users, and it will heavily restrict what can be done online. If you run a website, you can even get sent to jail for having links from your users which link to copyrighted material, which is
insane.

That’s synonymous with group
punishment for something you didn’t take part in. The scariest behaviors of Salva Kiir government is in comparison to that of Iddi Amin’ of Uganda although Amin was wiser than Kiir.

While South Sudanese intellectuals succeeded in adaptation of constitutionalism, Juba government poses as a real threat to them and everything the media and press has stood for since its inception.

Freedom of expression of information and opinions. In 2011 while campaigning in Juba, president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his SPLM falsely promised freedom of speech and expression. People thought that these are really going to stop piracy, when all they are going to do is destroy our society.

The media has built up our economy and is one of the biggest technological advances made in human history.

What concerns me most coming from an artistic point of view, is that; these stupid actions by our government will effect how we promote ourselves and how we share information.

The media and press has become the chief vehicle of promotion and business for artists, local journalists and writers. The beginnings of Social
Networking. We generated sharing and this is how many of us become discovered. If there was no freedom of press and media in place, chances would be low that many upcoming writers would have ever become relevant household names all over the world.

There are many more examples to this, but the bigger picture is that press and media censorship
is constitutionally, morally, ethically, and politically wrong, it
sabotages and destroy the beautiful thing the media and press have for us.

“Take action against illegitimate government, take action against South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation and any other
censorship of the media that comes forth”.

This has been in discussion for many years, but is only becoming noticed due to blackouts of major South sudanese websites and social networking posts. The mainstream news does not cover this Issue on the television much, due to it’s ownership from the government for corporations that own their news organizations.

Sign petitions now, write
representatives, it was us the people of South Sudan who got the Constitution shelved.

Gai James Kai; is an independent writer and a Law student at Nkumba University-Kampala. He can be reached through,  gaijames11@gmail.com or on +256779188786

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