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Corruption no-go zone for South Sudan journalists: CPJ

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March 31, 2012 (JUBA) — The recent fines slapped on two South Sudanese newspapers for allegedly defaming a senior member of the country’s ruling party cited in a $30 scam will deter journalists from further investigating corruption-related cases in the country, the Committee to Protection Journalists (CPJ) has said.

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Nhial Bol Aken, The Citizen’s editor in chief in Juba 12 December 2010 (ST)

The Citizen (English) and Al Masir (Arabic) were two weeks ago ordered by a court in Juba, the South Sudan’s capital, to each pay SSP 100,000 ($37,000) in damages to Pagan Amum, the secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), in addition to a written apology within 15 days from the ruling.

Failure to comply, the high court further ruled, would see the fine increase up to SSP 1,000,000 ($370,000) to be paid in three months.

Tom Rhodes, CPJ’s East Africa consultant said the odds of any journalists in South Sudan investigating the corruption case further are "slim".

The two publications are seeking to rescind the court decision through an appeal.

"We are going to appeal this decision," Nhial Bol, The Citizen’s Editor told CPJ, adding that, "All we did was quote the former finance minister — there is nothing libelous about that."

South Sudan attained independence in July 2011. In recent years, however, the relationship between the media and the state has been a fragile one in absence of laws to guide media operations.

Ngor Garang, a journalist with Sudan Tribune was on Friday barred from covering the final day of the SPLM National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting, with no proper reasons given for his expulsion.

This follows an incident in February in which Mading Ngor, a journalist with Bakhita
radio was assaulted in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and later banned from covering its proceedings.

A proposed media law, first introduced nearly five years ago, analysts say, would have provided an independent press ombudsman to mediate the case, but the law is yet to be passed.

(ST)

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  • 31 March 2012 09:20, by Sir King

    That is the government of hat man Mayardit, a man with nothing in his head but only hat. Sorry indeed, South Sudan has fallen into trench and will never wake up from it unless Mayardit and his team are removed from power.

    Sorry indeed and we cry for the spirits of beloved ones who lost their lives in struggle.

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    • 31 March 2012 10:34, by mosa mel

      King

      You demand to remove them, you will get the same system because they are all same South Sudanese that come to the power with same greedy. my idea is to press them to change this bad governance. No court in this world fines media up to million if not joking. This court disappoint our country.

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    • 31 March 2012 10:39, by 4Justice

      Salva kiir has severe intellectual disability, if the people of South Sudan do nothing now, it would soon be too late.

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      • 31 March 2012 11:55, by pabaak

        you guys he has two years to go, otherwise we have to follow democratic principle to elect a new one by 2014, by the way we need to know what constitution said about term in office?, is it five years with limit of two term? or unlimited term like what in Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, or almost entire Africa? this a nightmare system we can not allowed here in South Sudan

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      • 4 April 2012 23:25, by Born-to-Rule

        4Justice, Rubbish!.

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    • 31 March 2012 16:08, by John Yak

      Lawyers do shuffle parchments back and forth in a systematic attempt to ruin common people. So may be the best thing we can do is to kill all lawyers in order to push for our justice.
      We shall stop committing crimes whether you (lawyers) will stand these economic crises without any business.
      I am ashamed of your profession!

      repondre message

  • 31 March 2012 15:13, by philip andriko

    dear all southern sudanese we are aware that misusing public fund is not a crime here so guys telling the truth you will alway stand alone ,take care when catching thief ,we are the people and the government we can take up who we like and bring down who deserve self interest than public,for i know no have ever say am sartify of money they will loot but CANCER and LIVER problem will bring them down

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  • 31 March 2012 16:51, by pabaak

    It is a last day to declare assets or you will be kick out of Government, unless the Government doesn’t mean it when the date line was extended to march 31, we will hear another defy of Presidential degree by officials who will not be abide by the dateline, though declaring assets is one thing and investigating them is another. Does declaring my Millions in account and mansions abroad mean that

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    • 31 March 2012 16:56, by pabaak

      I’m free from corruption? I think Anti- corruption has to probe to masses of South Sudanese that they are for the people and they work to protect the public funds, they want to probe themselves that are better than the previous Anti-corruption committee.

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  • 31 March 2012 16:55, by somebody are Tonj

    To rule Pagan Amum as innocent was a case of injustice, but to then fine the accusers is ludicrous. Corruption is there, that is no secret so are the citizens not right to have some concerns, and are the media therefore not right to at least bring these concerns to light? Salva Kiir is simply holding a knife to all of the judges’ necks, and the judges are giving in. DICTATORSHIP.

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  • 1 April 2012 08:01, by MKee

    If there isn’t a law seperatiing court(Independent court) and government then I don’t think there could be any justice in this country. If courts and police work independently from governement interference then justice could be achieved in s. sudan since always governement bodies will have no fear when doing their works. For a fair system of gov. Law should apply 2 every citizens no matter who?

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