Juba, South Sudan,
June 20, 2021 – Some members of the South Sudan Police Service have assaulted four journalists in troubled Lakes State Capital Rumbek.
The strides reportedly went to the police station on a fact-finding mission about an artist that was allegedly facing detention at the police facility.
According to a statement from the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) President Oyet Patrick Charles, the journalists working for Good News FM, including a station Director working for Catholic Radio Station were ordered to declare everything upon reaching the police station.
“The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) has learned with great concern that four media personnel including a station’s Director working for a Catholic Radio Station in Rumbek, (Good News FM) in Lakes State, were assaulted by police on Saturday, June 19th. 2021,” the statement read partly.
“The Good News FM’s Director said he and his radio station’s three staff went to a police station on the demand of the police officers to answer questions about an artist who had been detained at the facility in Rumbek. Upon reaching the station, they were ordered by the police to declare everything they had, one of the media personnel happened to declare an audio recorder,” it continues.
“Upon seeing the audio recorder, the police officers ordered all the media personnel to lie down, assaulted the media personnel, and only stopped when a police captain, manning the station intervened,” UJOSS revealed.
It says, the media personnel were later set free and left the police station with all their equipment.
The union condemned the action and said it will work with relevant authorities to address the matter.
“UJOSS strongly condemned the act by the police against the media personnel. Whether the media personnel were suspects or not, there is no law in South Sudan that provides for assault of suspects,” it says.
“UJOSS will be working diligently with South Sudan’s Government and other stakeholders to see that this issue is addressed with the attention that it deserves,” it added.
In April, the South Sudan Media Authority in partnership with CEPO and National Communication Authority launched the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in South Sudan.
The document prohibits assault against journalists and directs any person aggrieved by a journalistic work to file a formal complaint to the Media Authority or any relevant regulatory body.