Home | News    Tuesday 5 May 2015

South Sudan threatens to detain and take journalists to court

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

May 4, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, on Monday said his government will from now on detain and take to court journalists who report on issues authorities consider false or infringing on national security.

JPEG - 44.9 kb
South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, speaks to reporters in Jonglei state capital Bor on 25 December 2014 (ST)

Speaking at a national conference to mark the World Press Freedom Day on Monday in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, Lueth, an outspoken controversial figure in government, said security agents have the legal right to arrest and present unprofessional journalists to detention and charge them in court.

“Up to now we have not taken any journalist to the court but we will do so,” said Lueth, the chief guest for the two-day event.

He said the government would now resort to taking journalists to court as it is a practice done worldwide. Overtimes, government’s security agents randomly detain journalists for publishing stories which the government feels unfavourable to its political and security stance, but release them thereafter without charges.

“We will do so [take reporters to court] because they are being taken to the court all over the world,” Lueth added.

“It is only in South Sudan where we have not taken anybody up to now. So if calling anybody [to national security office in Juba], and talking to him and setting him free is becoming a problem, then we will apply the law as it is,” he said, referring to penal code that says defamation could earn reporter twenty years in jail if proven guilty.

Minister Lueth has been known for his criticisms against the press, particularly threatening local journalists in the country on many occasions. Last year he also threatened to shut down the independent Miraya FM radio which is being run by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The minister warned media houses not to speak to officials of the opposition factions, particularly the rebel group led by the country’s former vice-president, Riek Machar, saying their messages were misleading the public.

Alfred Taban, the editor in chief of the daily Juba Monitor newspaper and the chairman of the Association of Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), said the conditions are already unfavorable for journalists.

“The conditions for reporters and media owners is changing from bad to worse every day,” he said, speaking at the same event on Monday.

The veteran journalist explained that security agents summon editors nearly on daily basis to caution them on what stories to shelf.

“Publishing those stories would mean endangering your newspaper,” he added.

Lueth however said journalists are not being targeted, explaining that they have the constitutional rights like any other citizens.

“The constitution talks of the rights of all the citizens and journalists are citizens. So whatever law applies, applies on them [journalists]. This does not apply to journalists only but it applies to all the citizens,” he said.

He further defended that the security agents were operating within the law by arresting journalists as required by security law.

Orgainised by AMDISS, UNESCO and other partners, the Monday event brought together reporters from across the ten states of South Sudan under the theme “Advocating for media safety, freedom of expression and gender equality in the media.”

Many participants however said the event which was meant for promoting freedom of the press and expression was instead polluted by the remarks of the government’s official who further presented a list of punishments awaiting the journalists in the young war-ravaged nation.

(ST)

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.
  • 5 May 2015 08:15, by Mayom County Boy

    the freedom of expression still yet to be achieve by south Sudanese journalist and other citizens with in the country
    I do not blame honorable Michael Makuei Lueth because of restricting south Sudanese Journalist for freedom of expression.
    it is something which was been put in to laws by all parties members who are in the country .

    repondre message

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


Try Dong Samuel Luak or release him now 2019-01-22 15:59:31 By Nhial T. Tutlam, PhD* Exactly two years ago, my cousin and mentor Dong Samuel Luak, was abducted from Nairobi, where he was living as a refugee. Mr Dong Samuel Luak is a human rights lawyer (...)

What options are available for President Bashir of Sudan? 2019-01-20 21:43:26 By Luka Kuol Sudan is one of the few African countries whose citizens pioneered post-independence popular uprisings in 1964 and 1985 that forced the ruling military regimes to step down. The (...)

Tasgut Bass is the buzzword and a slogan of the Sudanese uprising 2019-01-20 21:38:57 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This article comes against the background of the progressive escalation of the Sudanese popular revolution, despite the use of the regime of Omer al-Bashir of the lethal (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Ethnic Murle politicians say enough to cattle raiding 2018-12-28 09:32:00 December 27, 2018 (JUBA) - Murle political leaders in Buma state have vowed to end the practice of cattle raiding and child abduction by individuals in the community. Jodi Jonglei, who is also (...)

CEPO: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Stop politics of split and focus on R-ARCSS implementation 2018-12-26 09:53:29 26th December, 2018. South Sudan Opposition Alliance internal leadership change frication is disturbing and demoralizing public opinion. The big question CEPO is raising, will SSOA be a strong (...)

Progress observed at end of second month of R-ARCSS implementation 2018-10-22 06:44:02 Press Release 21 October 2018 South Sudanese government released 24 detainees in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2019 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.