Home | News    Tuesday 19 August 2014

Bakhita radio submits apology, pleads for journalist’s release

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August 18, 2014 (JUBA) – The management of the Catholic-owned Bakhita radio on Monday apologised to South Sudan national security officials and demanded the release of its news editor.

A sign post of Bakhita radio in the capital Juba (credit: talkofjuba)The move comes days after the station was closed for airing news in which the opposition claimed government forces attacked their positions in Unity and Jonglei states.

“When they [security agents] came, they couldn’t tell us what happened. When we interacted with them, they told us it is the news that we read in the morning,” Bakhita radio director, Albino Tokwaro told reporters in the capital, Juba.

“We narrated to them what actually happened and we apologized that it was a mistake. I said officer this is a first time this gentleman has done a mistake why don’t you forgive him,” he added.

Security agents were irked by remarks attributed to rebel spokesperson, Peter Riek Gew regarding Friday’s clashes, which the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) too confirmed.

South Sudan’s presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny said Monday that the news in question blamed government troops for attacking rebel positions last Friday.

"Radio Bakhita’s editor made the public to believe that it was the government attacking the rebels, not [the] rebels attacking the government positions,” Ateny told Sudan Tribune by phone.

“The government is in towns and the attacks come from outside. So it was not the town moving to attack. That was the reason that he was detained,” he added.

According to Tokwaro, the news editor, David Ocen remains in custody while the station remains closed.

“We [South Sudanese] are still learning to be democratic so one has to be very careful when writing news. I think ethically, all the journalists should be able to work very correctly,” he said.

Oliver Modi Philip, the Union of South Sudan Journalists (UJOSS) chairperson, said the radio’s closure was "unconstitutional" and condemned it news editor’s arrest.

“The radio has many programs like health issues, entertaining and church services and closing it down means you are depriving South Sudanese the right to information and this is contrary to our laws,” Modi told Sudan Tribune by phone on Monday.

UNMISS CONCERNED

Meanwhile UNMISS has expressed concern over the closure of the Catholic-owned station.

"The Mission notes the increasing efforts to curtail operations of media houses and the work of journalists, covering the conflict in South Sudan, including the forced closure of Radio Bakhita and other impositions of restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the media," the mission said in a statement issued Monday.

"UNMISS calls on the government of South Sudan and the opposition forces to respect the freedom of information and freedom of expression," it added.

South Sudanese journalists are often arrested for reporting on security matters. Last month, a freelance reporter working for Weer Bei radio in Northern Bar El Ghazal state fled the capital, Aweil after authorities threatened to arrest him.

(ST)

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  • 19 August 2014 08:06, by Developer

    What a hang to apologize for the rotten Dinka government. if I am supposed to be the editor, I can acept to die than to apologize to those cowered Dinka people.

    repondre message

    • 19 August 2014 08:42, by Madina Tonj

      Poor Developer thinking too Idiocy. I can tell your heart is full with hater on Dinka people but put in mind that, there is a separation between Churches and the State. If that is the case then, the Catholicism journalist should have not involved in government politics. Second to that, you can go ahead dislike Dinkas but the Dinka tribe is a majority tribe in South Sudan and will go nowhere.

      repondre message

      • 19 August 2014 19:18, by Developer

        Madina tonj, seperation of states and churches is unfit in the current constitution of south Sudan due to lack of federal system. In this current world, people tell a leader how to be governor them but not leader to tell his or her people you must do this. Kiirs government(Dinka)blocking peoples rights from any cornor of freedom of speech is detectorship.

        repondre message

    • 19 August 2014 08:43, by Madina Tonj

      Poor Developer thinking too Idiocy. I can tell your heart is full with hater on Dinka people but put in mind that, there is a separation between Churches and the State. If that is the case then, the Catholicism journalist should have not involved in government politics. Second to that, you can go ahead dislike Dinkas but the Dinka tribe is a majority tribe in South Sudan and will go nowhere.

      repondre message

      • 19 August 2014 19:40, by Developer

        Madina tonj; don’t be a mountful of Dinka tribe is majority in S. Sudan and Kiir can rule people under his detectorship
        as some of you Dinka people wanted but still there is exit in every things. To remind you that there is already calculation done that all others tribes combined themselves and aoutnumbers Dinka more than a dozen times and all us of are bitter of Kiir detectorship.

        repondre message

    • 19 August 2014 08:43, by Madina Tonj

      Poor Developer thinking too Idiocy. I can tell your heart is full with hater on Dinka people but put in mind that, there is a separation between Churches and the State. If that is the case then, the Catholicism journalist should have not involved in government politics. Second to that, you can go ahead dislike Dinkas but the Dinka tribe is a majority tribe in South Sudan and will go nowhere.

      repondre message

      • 19 August 2014 20:57, by Developer

        Madina;you need to call Kiir leadership style very poor and bad instead calling me poor developer. Do u know how much money and worth of properties people have lose during this inserted war by president Kiir because of his being in power hungry.I really have to say this, South Sudan can be developed under Kiir leadership.

        repondre message

  • 19 August 2014 08:58, by tootke’bai-ngo

    THIS IS VERY TERRIBLE UNLAWFULNESS. WHY IS GOVERNMENT VIOLETED THE CONSTITUTION IT’S CLAIMS TO BE PROTECTING? MR. OCEN IS INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY, CLOSING DOWN THE WHOLE RADIO STATION IS OVER REACTING. ONE WONDER EVERYTIME KIIR VIOLATED OUR CONSTITUTION WHETHER JUBA BECAME KHORTOUM OR WHAT? WHY DID WE FIGHT FOR 22 YEARS IF IT WAS TO ESTABLISHED THE SAME INF/NCP SYSTEM IN S. SUDAN, WHY?

    repondre message

    • 19 August 2014 12:17, by Lorolokin

      tootke’bai-ngo

      you really make my day with your patriotic comment unlike Madina Tonj shit who comment like his uncles.

      repondre message

  • 19 August 2014 19:09, by tootke’bai-ngo

    Thank lorolokin. lack of freedom is the problem in S. Sudan. we didn’t separated from Sudan to be rule by Omer El Bashir in cowboy hat. with all that said, it really begs the question "is kiir really willing to unit our people? if so, is this how he is planning to bring peace to the country by picking a fight with those who are not willing to rebel? there is no need for apology, release Mr. Ocen!!

    repondre message

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