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AMDISS condemns the arrests of journalists in South Sudan

Oct 31, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) has condemned the arrests of Journalists by the National Security Service in Juba that happened earlier this week.

South Sudan journalists covering an unknown event in unknown location in South Sudan (File photo)
South Sudan journalists covering an unknown event in unknown location in South Sudan (File photo)

The journalists were arrested while covering a press conference which was organized by the central Equatoria State’s chamber of commerce which addressed the situation of food prices in the area.

These journalists were briefly detained and their equipment confiscated.

The journalists who were arrested worked for Juba Monitor, Radio Miraya, Equatoria Broadcasting Cooperation and other media houses.

The AMDISS chair, Mary Ajith said that the arrests were a violation of press freedom. She accused the national security personnel of lack of professionalism.

“When we have people in the system who lack professionalism and lack understanding the roles of the media, things keep going like that,” Ms Ajith said.

“Security institutions need to employ public relations or communications officers so that they practically explain to officers the importance of media,” she added.

According to Ajith, journalists in South Sudan have continued to suffer in the hands of the law and this has forced most of the people in the field to abandon it so as to avoid trouble.

About two weeks ago, another journalist, Bullen Alexander Bala was arrested, spent three days in jail and then released on bail without any charges.

While addressing the issue of Bullen, Anna Nimiriano, the Editor in Chief of the Juba Monitor Newspaper urged the security officers to respect the freedom of press.

“I want to urge the government and especially the national security to respect the freedom of journalists to operate in the field because this is making many journalists see the career as a threat yet they love what they do,” she said at the time.

The Reporters without Borders’ 2019 global press freedom index ranked South Sudan at number 139 out of 180 countries.

The Media Authority Act 2013, prohibits the unlawful arrest, detention, harassment, intimidation and torture of journalists. But according to rights groups, dozens of reporters have been subjected to intimidation, arrest, censorship, and violence.

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