June 23, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — Before the conflict broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, barely two years after her independence from the Arab North, Sudan, at least one outspoken political analyst, Isaiah Abraham, was brutally murdered in his house for criticising the government and many journalists, political analysts and rights activists had fled the world’s youngest nation for the fear of their lives. Some did not just flee the country out of fear of the unknown, they were kidnapped and tortured, and others woke up to skulls and dry bones placed on their pillows to serve as the last warnings that their lives were at steak. It was around this time that the ruling elites introduced the term “unknown gunmen” to justify insecurity in the national capital, Juba. Thus, it became evidently clear that South Sudan was heading into a state of anarchy and that the freedom of speech and expression was soon going to be curtailed or brutally silenced .
Just after the day of the incident, December 15, 2013, the National Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth, convened journalists in Juba to dictate to them how the government would like the incident reported and warned that “any body who go astray will not be tolerated”, a strict warning that has been reiterated by senior government officials including the president, Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Days after president Kiir repeated the warning and quoted saying “If anybody among them (journalists) does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day, one time” , a journalist, Peter Julius Moi, was killed in Juba. This was widely condemned by friends and sympathizers of South Sudan.
“We condemn the senseless killing of Peter Julius Moi in what has become a deadly year for journalists in South Sudan. More and more independent voices are being silenced in South Sudan at this critical time in the country’s history, when the public desperately needs impartial information.”- Tom Rhodes, CPJ’s East Africa representative
Since the outbreak of the conflict, South Sudan has witnessed mass murder of journalists and human rights activists in attempt to silent freedom of press. At least seven journalists were killed in 2015 alone and many others remain in jails across the country or fled to the neighboring countries.
The killing of independent voices has been widely condemned by individuals, human rights organizations, United Nations, Human Rights Watch, TROIKA nations and many South Sudanese communities in diaspora; however, no one particular group or a government has come forward with a clear agenda on how to support independent media or propose support mechanisms on how to strengthen the capacity of the independent voices in and outside the country, South Sudan.
It was because of this growing need for independent media that we established Nyamilepedia in December 2013 and continued to run it to these days despite life threatening challenges. Our journalists have been jailed, tortured and threatened, and our website has been hacked numerous times, shutdown and barred for our readers in South Sudan. It has been an ongoing endless battle; however, we are losing it due to lack of financial support. Our website currently contain bots from previous hackings, which drastically slows it down and hikes the bounce rate.
With your financial contribution and continued moral support, we hope to rebuild the website and strengthen our media capacity. Any little support means more, please contribute today and we thank you in advance.
As Canadian Ambassador to South Sudan, Alan Hamson, once said – “a strong media sector is essential for developing a strong country. Freedom of expression and of the press, and strong media institutions, are essential for any society to identify issues and find solutions, to inform the public, to engage citizens in the future of their country, to help governments and institutions respond to the needs of ordinary people and to protect people’s human rights” – your financial support will contribute to building a strong media institution and developing a strong country.
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