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South Sudan repressing independent media – rights group

World press freedom day (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

July 20th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government is repressing it’s independent media according to an advocacy organization.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) further accused the government of South Sudan of denying citizens the rights to expression saying the detention of Michael Christopher is against press freedom in the country.

“The arbitrary detention of Michael Christopher is the latest brazen attack against freedom of the press in South Sudan,”Jehanne Henry, Associate Africa Director at HRW said.

The advocacy group urged in atatement seen by the Nyamilepedia the government to release or charge the journalist held behind bars at the National Security Service’s detention facility, the Blue House.

“The authorities should immediately release him or charge him with a recognized criminal offense,” it said adding: “national Security Service (NSS) officers arrested Christopher at the Juba International Airport on July 15 as he was leaving the country. They forced him off the plane, confiscated his passport, and told him to report to the NSS headquarters without explaining why. Security officers arrested him on the afternoon of July 17 when he reported to the security service office.”

The rights group explained that this is not the first time the journalist has been harassed by South Sudan’s security officers, he was warned in January by an officer believed to be a government security agent when he published an opinion piece supporting the Sudanese protests.

“In January, both South Sudan’s Media Authority and the NSS had warned Christopher, after he published an opinion article supporting the political protests in Sudan. The authorities suspended publication of Al Watan in March on grounds of noncompliance and operating without a license. Christopher had to temporarily flee the country due to death threats from persons he believes were security agents,” the statement further said.

The statement deplored actions by the NSS which it said has been targeting perceived critics of the Government by arbitrarily arresting them and monitoring their daily activities.

“South Sudan’s National Security Service has often targeted critics of the government and perceived dissidents for harassment and arbitrary arrest and detention. The agency has broad powers of surveillance, arrest, and detention, and has embedded officers in some newspaper offices, leading to a growing climate of self-censorship,” it said.

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