Juba, South Sudan,
July 19, 2021 – The European Union has called on the government of South Sudan to clarify their action on blocking a citizen-driven talk show at the #DefyHateNow facility on Saturday.
The show, titled “The Citizen Platform: Know Your Law”, was organized by Wani Michael, a civil society activist and Executive Director of Okay Africa Foundation.
The Saturday episode was just the chronicle of the show that focuses on enlightening the citizens on national laws.
But Wani said some members of the national security service stormed the facility and blocked the show at its inception.
“Officers from National Security Service shutdown our panel discussion on South Sudan Constitutional history,” he tweeted Saturday. “This is happening at the time when the President officially launched the Permanent Constitution-making process. We’ll never be intimidated and threatened!” he added.
On Sunday, the European Union said the action was a threat to the freedom of speech and that the government should provide clarification on the matter.
“EU in South Sudan looks forward to a clarification by the authorities of South Sudan on the citizens’ freedom of speech, that in our understanding allows debates like these to take place,” the EU tweeted Sunday.
In the tweet, the EU tagged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Office of the President and the Government of South Sudan official Twitter handles.
Earlier reports claimed that the show was blocked because Wani did not get clearance from the National Security Service Department to grant him permission to host the show.
Mr. Wani dismissed the reports saying there was no legal provision that mandates a citizen to get clearance from NSS to host such a citizen-focused talk show. Wani claimed the NSS attacked his personality instead of pointing out why he is wrong.
“Some of you want to change the whole narrative of what happened yesterday, I was the host of the event and the NSS Officers were so arrogant, rude, and full of hate on my personality. They kept on calling my name saying, we just don’t want this activity because of Wani Michael,” he tweeted.
Mr. Wani was one of the activists arrested and briefly detained in March for spearheading a civil protest after the death of Trisha Cee, a local musician who succumbed to accident injuries after negligence by medical personnel at Juba Teaching Hospital.