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S. Sudan security confiscate copies of independent newspaper

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December 11, 2013 (JUBA) - Members of the South Sudan security services raided the printing press of the country’s leading independent English newspaper, confiscating all copies of the publications that were due for distribution, The Citizen’s editor said Wednesday.

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A vendor sells newspapers in South Sudanese capital Juba (Photo: Al-Jazeera)

Editor in Chief, Nhial Bol said that "fully and well-armed" government agents entered the newspapers premises at dawn, "terrorising" the newspaper’s journalists and technicians before seizing Wednesday’s edition.

Bol attributed the confiscation to The Citizen’s coverage of Bol’s arrest and detention by South Sudan’s security services on Tuesday. The leading journalist, who has been detained by the authorities on numerous occasions, was released after several hours "behind doors", following political intervention from higher level authorities.

In recent months critics have accused the government of adopting the same repressive attitudes that led to the South fighting decades of civil war against various Khartoum regimes until a 2005 peace deal allowed for independence in July 2011.

In the two and a half years since independence, human rights organisations, civil society groups, journalists and individuals who hold critical views about the conduct of senior government officials, have complained of sustained harassment, torture, arbitrary actions and arrest and detention.

Government agents are alleged to act on the directives and orders of some senior government officials in order to silence their political critics and to scare the media from reporting on sensitive issues, often leading to self-censorship.

In November, South Sudan’s new minister of information and broadcasting, Michael Makuei Lueth, ordered all journalists to register and acquire new government identification cards.

The move has been rejected as unconstitutional by South Sudan’s independent media outlets and has been criticised by press freedom groups.

Alfred Taban, the Editor in Chief of the Juba Monitor, who led a delegation of South Sudanese journalists to a meeting with the information minister last month, said they not could reach any understanding because the order was illegal and unconstitutional.

Several media practitioners and civil society organisations have expressed dissatisfaction with the new directives and warned the government against tightening freedoms and suppressing individual rights.

The confiscation of newspapers when they covering events critical of senior government officials, specifically the president and security agents, is tactic also practiced by the Sudanese government.

Copies of the independent Al Masir Arabic newspaper were confiscated on 7 December, allegedly for publishing a detailed report of the press conference convened by the senior SPLM leaders to criticise the leadership of president Salva Kiir Mayardit on 6 December.

In 2011, the editor-in-chief of the English version of Al Masir was arrested and the paper was subsequently suspended infinitely on the grounds that it published an opinion article critical of the marriage of president Salva Kiir’s daughter to an Ethiopian.

"The current developing events within the leadership of the SPLM are interesting to say the least, and it requires the government to allow the media to adequately inform the general public without fear of reprisals. Doing the opposite compromises not only the principle cause and objective of the liberation struggle but constitutional commitment of the government itself to promoting and strengthening democratic institutions", Dominic Aguer Wol, who is from South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

Wol said it would be "backtracking" if the government, which came to exist as result of fighting a repressive system uses the same repressive procedures in order to crackdown on newspapers and media outlets as well as to harm them financially though confiscating their issues; leading to their closure.

"I call on the government in my capacity as a citizen of this country, to stop its anti-media campaign and instead use the rule of law in its engagement with the media and journalists," said Wol.

Newspaper staff says they are contemplating holding a demonstration in the capital, Juba, to protest over the seizure of their newspapers and have submitted a memorandum to the parliament to present to the government.

No date has so far been agreed as some media practitioners argue that they should first convene a meeting first with officials at the ministry of information, security services, police and military.

(ST)

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  • 12 December 2013 05:54, by dinkdong

    They did it again, huh? Shameless government

    repondre message

    • 12 December 2013 06:00, by Ahmed Chol

      I support death of Makuei and his Friend Kiir Mayar if they want to make themselves our Arabs again. We fought and voted to part with the arabs. The current government is copy of the Khartoum regime. Well it has to be destroyed, because mistreatment is mistreatment. It doesn’t matter whether you get it from Arab or from Southerner. I advocate for regime change by force if election doesn’t do it.

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      • 12 December 2013 06:38, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

        Hopeless political heartbroken orphan idio called Hamad Chol. When Garang die, what have you gain from his death ya son of fake Arab criminal? Go and fuck your misbrought wishless harm to human being, read your self again and think of what you just said,
        Where were media when the war between us and your abandon fake father taking place? Death to you idiot,

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        • 12 December 2013 06:55, by Son of Ngundeng

          Dinka Dominate Liel Mourun, When we say the true all the idiot dinka deny it, do you think you have a president now ? let me tell you country without right of the media, how can we call it? give me a name? it is called dictatorship rule, could you think we will be rule by Warrap people till when? fake dinka your time is marking end.

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          • 12 December 2013 06:59, by Mi diit

            Is it not the same newspaper where Ateny Wek Ateny was reported to have been writing his opinions on a column? And now that he is given FOOD as press secretary in the primitive palace of Kiir Kuethpiny he has forgotten the very newspaper and cannot advise cowboy Kiir not to suppress its operations? Shame on you...

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            • 12 December 2013 15:56, by Rommel

              Salva Kiir should allow the politburo to elect a new chairman, and should then gracefully leave the political environment altogether. If I was in Salva’s shoes, I would convene a meeting with Pagan Amum and Nyandeng De Mabior and their respective factions; I would then inform them that I have instructed members of my faction in the politburo to support Pagan’s election to the chairmanship...

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              • 12 December 2013 15:56, by Rommel

                .. while urging Nyandeng De Mabior and Deng Alor to do likewise. The deputy chairman should also be a non-Dinka — preferably an Equatorian; after Pagan Amum Okiech has won, he should then evict the Dinka that have unlawfully sequestered and occupied lands in Equatoria, so as to maximize his political standing in that region. Equatoria is thus the grand chessboard.

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        • 12 December 2013 08:12, by Naath

          Dominant, you’re really hopeless who have no value in this nation, you are supporting the stooge leader who doesn’t know the meaning of media.this is 21centure whereby dictatorship isn’t exist anymore . useless kiir toilet cleaner, you ran away 1991but coming war is not a war of propaganda, is really war ok, , and is not between dinka and Naath it’s southern against poor kiir plus you bustard.

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        • 12 December 2013 10:18, by Bentiu son

          What a shame food lover Gogrial thieves,it is really unfortunate for oppressed to turn into oppressors,marginalized individuals to turned into marginalizers,freedom fighters to turned into looters,antidemocratic elements,anti equality,or antijustice in South Sudan.My friends told me that Gogrialians are gluttonous,rude,savage n barbaric clan among the entire Dinkas.I proved him right now!!!!!!!!!!

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      • 12 December 2013 07:01, by omoni jr.

        Bravo, brother Ahmed Achol,
        these two men need to be eliminated by all means, either death or regime change. They are really practise dictatorship.

        repondre message

    • 12 December 2013 07:37, by Mayom County Boy

      yes it is security work to confiscate nonsense copies
      who lie to address media news very correctely.

      repondre message

  • 12 December 2013 05:59, by Ahmed Chol

    I support death of Makuei and his Friend Kiir Mayar if they want to make themselves our Arabs again. We fought and voted to part with the arabs. The current government is copy of the Khartoum regime. Well it has to be destroyed, because mistreatment is mistreatment. It doesn’t matter whether you get it from Arab or from Southerner. I advocate for regime change by force if election doesn’t do it.

    repondre message

    • 12 December 2013 07:00, by Peter Mading

      Stupidity is growing high and the aliens of the West are dreaming mistakenly for what they misquoted as "Democratic Institution" The internal struggling or wrestling for Power should not be misquoted as Democratic principles. It is not a party that implement Democracy to itself but to the other parties. Senior SPLM leaders are foolish indeed to think so.

      repondre message

  • 12 December 2013 07:54, by tootke’bai-ngo

    WHEN KIIR’S GOVERNMENT BECAME AN OPPRESSIVE REGIME OF KHORTOUM? DIDN’T WE FOUGHT FOR LAST 50YEARS SO THAT ALL CITIZENS HAVE TOTAL FREEDOMS INCLUDING RIGHT FOR INFORMATION? WHY KEEP THIS STUPID REDICULOUS PRACTISE OF REPRESSION? WE ARE SICK OF DICTORIAL ATTITUDES OF KIIR’S SYSTEM.

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    • 12 December 2013 08:43, by Chol A.

      Hang yourself if sick of Kiir rule brother no way

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  • 12 December 2013 08:47, by Marco Bul

    Kiir has staged a silent coup and has taken the country hostage.Open your eyes properly and forget about generalisation of certain tribes.Let’s unite to free ourselves as S.Sudanese regardless of tribes.

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    • 12 December 2013 10:05, by Bentiu son

      Marco Bul,yes our unity of purposes this time is badly needed by our entire neglected civilians,SPLA forces,civil organizations regardless of tribes,genders or religious affiliations around the country.Salva Kiir n his stooge teams which composes of yesmen/women,comedians,NCP’s agents and failure former Governors should know the causes of our liberation struggles against Khartoum clique regimes.

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  • 12 December 2013 11:52, by Gatluak

    Ha ha ha ha this is the advice Dr. Riek told Kiir Mayardit to indoses Dr. Riek for chairmanship that he (Riek) will cover him (Kiir) even if Kiir gas no body will smile it. look at it now. He gas while in South Africa the smile spread to the entire world.

    repondre message

  • 12 December 2013 12:27, by Uncle J

    Suppose this time if South Sudan Security Services (SSSS)lockup this outlaw chief editor for Independent newspaper Mr. Nhial Bol Aken, they should give him proper torture and leave him in jail for long enough because he thinks he is tough to mess with SSSS. If that guy is not careful he is gonna die like Abraham ... and leave behind bribery money to cover mr. Riek holy craps

    repondre message

  • 12 December 2013 18:04, by Positive Thinker

    Politicians are the worse when it come to double standard, why do they call the media when they want to play angel and abhore the same when they are playing devil. The whole world knows that devil within a politicians is bigger than an angel within. It is a shame, a big shame ......

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