Home | News    Friday 1 August 2014

Rights bodies accuse S. Sudan security of harassing journalists


August 1, 2014 (JUBA) – Two leading human rights entities have accused South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) of unlawfully detaining journalists, as well as seizing and shutting down newspapers in the country.

JPEG - 15.4 kb
A vendor sells newspapers in South Sudanese capital Juba (Photo: Al-Jazeera)

In a joint statement, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the NSS’s actions undermine freedom of expression and curtail public debate about how to resolve the country’s ongoing conflict.

“The government clampdown takes place at a time when South Sudan most needs independent voices to contribute to discussions about how to end the political crisis and internal armed conflict,” said Elizabeth Ashamu Deng, South Sudan researcher at Amnesty International.

“Abuses by the National Security Service, an institution that still has no law governing it, have especially contributed to a growing atmosphere of fear among journalists and human rights defenders,” she added.

The two rights bodies, in their statement, called for an end to these abuses and for South Sudan’s parliament to ensure proper oversight of the NSS, in line with international human rights law and standards.

Since December last year, the group reportedly documented unlawful restrictions on expression and the media in South Sudan.

Over the past seven months, it said, senior government officials have banned journalists from interviewing opposition leaders. Those who have done so or who have reported on human rights violations by government forces have faced intimidation.

“Authorities have also restricted reporting on the conflict, human rights violations, and debates surrounding federalism in South Sudan,” partly reads the joint statement.

Several cases of confiscation of newspapers, unlawful detention of journalists and harassments have also been cited, with the blame directed at the NSS.

“Right now, journalists and commentators cannot do their work and report freely on the ongoing conflict without fear of retribution by state security forces,” said Daniel Bekele, HRW’s Africa director.

“We’ve seen the NSS and other authorities erode freedom of expression since South Sudan’s independence through abusive practices: these should end now,” he added.

Meanwhile, the two human rights entities urged the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan to ensure that violations of freedom of expression are addressed in its research and should make recommendations on how this basic right could be better protected in South Sudan, including through institutional reform of the


A South Sudanese civil society organization on Friday welcomed the report issued by the two human right bodies and described actions of security organs on journalists as a "wrong concept".

"This report proof facts that has happened and must be corrected by the political leadership of the government. allowing media to operate per the existing laws is opening up room for democracy to take its cost", Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) said in a statement.

"Freedom of expression and access to information are among the core indicators for measuring space for allowing democracy to take its cost. Therefore we urge parliament’s committee on information and communication to discuss this report and come out with genuine and consultative practical solutions for addressing the issue of the media", it adds.

In July 2013, South Sudan’s national assembly successfully passed the entire media bills that only awaited the president’s ascend. Last month, however, president Salva Kiir referred the same bill back to lawmakers raising fears of possible delays its eventual passing.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

President Kiir should extend equal justice recognition to John Agou 2018-03-17 08:35:01 By Deng Kur Deng Dear Mr. President, Is is the quest for equal justice that urges me to write to you today. Our quest didn’t begin with us, but it starts with you. All you have done for your (...)

Applying to the Arab League as the observer is recommendable but wrong time 2018-03-13 11:21:42 By Gatdiet Peter On 5 March 2018, a report from the Egyptian official news agency, MENA has flooded the media and captured a sharp attention of wider South Sudanese people that the Republic of (...)

Africa and UK Brexit 2018-03-10 22:34:34 By Ambassador Dhano Obongo Brexit is the media usage for Britain exiting the European Union (EU). After four decades of membership, last year England voted to quit the EU. Trade impacts will (...)


Latest Press Releases

Appeal for forgiveness and pardon of John Agou Wuoi 2018-03-07 08:28:08 H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), 5th February, 2018. Through: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth (...)

Petition for release of Agou John Wuoi from prison 2018-02-15 20:45:31 Open letter to South Sudan President Salva Kiir Your Excellency, Kindly please permit me to take this rare opportunity to appreciate you for every effort you have made toward making South Sudan (...)

AUHIP Communiqué on Sudan & SPLM-N talks for cessation of hostilities agreement 2018-02-05 13:04:16 African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan Joint Statement on Unilateral Ceasefire, Cessation of Hostilities and Completion of Negotiations 1) With the facilitation (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.