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South Sudan journalists’ body ‘concerned’ by shrinking media space

Head of South Sudan journalists union Oyet Patrick. [Photo courtesy]

JUBA – The Union of Journalists of South Sudan has expressed deep concerns over shrinking space for media freedom in the country.

This came following the recent detention of nine journalists – including a Sudans Post reporter – by the South Sudan National Security Service (NSS).

The Journalists were detained for covering a press conference organized by members of the SPLM-IO parliament, protesting the passing of the Political Parties Act.

The latest incident comes barely a month after US Embassy in South Sudan called on the government to allow the media to operate freely.

In February, eight journalists were arrested on the premises of the national parliament.

This occurred while the journalists were covering a press conference organized by some opposition MPs.

Oyet Patrick Charles, President of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan condemned the repetitive detention of journalists in the parliament.

“The ordinary sitting of the parliament is legally opened to the public and the media or journalists are normally allowed in the ‘parliament press gallery,’ therefore, journalists do not need an official invitation to attend ordinary sessions, listen to debates and report thereof,” Oyet said in a statement seen by Sudans Post on Tuesday.

Oyet described the recent detention of journalists as “an attempt to violate the public’s rights of access to information.”

“The detention of journalists in parliament is a violation of their rights, an attempt to violate the public’s rights of access to information and deny the public crucial information, which they need to make choices in their life.”

Oyet urged authorities at all levels to observe utmost restraints and allow journalists to freely do their work of informing and educating the public.

Source: Sudan Post.