October 11, 2016 (KAMPALA) – The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has petitioned South Sudan president, Salva Kiir over the recent killings and constant harassment of journalists in the country.
- President Salva Kiir adresses a joint press conference on 9 July 2016 (Reuters Photo)
PPF’s Secretary General, Owais Aslam Ali, in a letter, urged South Sudan government to end the high rate of impunity and book the perpetrators.
The petition, which Sudan Tribune obtained, calls for action against shutting down of media outlets, harassment of media personnel and provide the security to the media fraternity in South Sudan.
At least 12 journalists have been murdered for pursuing their professional duties and others were became the victims of circumstances, local media bodies revealed.
Recently, the dead body of Isaac Vuni, a freelance journalist was found in a farm. He was kidnapped three months back at gun point by unidentified men wearing uniform at his home in Kerepi village.
In July this year, John Gatluk, journalist for a community radio and Kamula Duro, a cameraman in the president’s office were killed.
Local media reports say besides murders and killings, at least 27 journalists were arrested, some were released and others are still in detention. Also seven media outlets were shut down and only two were reopened, three journalists were kidnapped, detained in unknown location and tortured while two other kidnapped journalists are still missing.
Meanwhile several journalists fled the nation for fear of their lives.
According to Human Rights Watch, in the absence of laws establishing a legal mechanism to guarantee media freedom and to enable the media in defend their reporting, editors and reporters are often vulnerable to harassment, arbitrary arrest and censorship by national security agents.
South Sudan ranked 140th out of 180 nations in Reporters Without Borders 2016 World Press Freedom Index, falling 26 places since its 2013 outbreak of conflict.