October 27, 2016 (JUBA) - A veteran South Sudanese journalist has welcomed his recognition for withstanding the pressure to continue to express his thoughts, despite attempts by authorities to stifle press and freedom of expression in the young nation.
- Alfred Taban (Time-UA Photo)
Alfred Taban, the editor in chief of Juba Monitor newspaper said he has welcomed nomination for the Press Freedom prize by Reporters without Borders and TV5 Monde.
Taban is among the 22 journalists from 19 countries nominated from around the world.
The accolade, he said, was a motivational recognition for young journalists to not just censor themselves, but rather continue to report on matters of public interest.
Reporters Without Borders, in a statement, said the award recognizes journalists being prosecuted or are in prison for refusing to censor themselves, despite the harsh and hostile environment in which they operate in countries of their residences around the world.
Also recognized by the award are journalist exposed to threats and physical violence from those they criticize.
“Authoritarian regimes cracked down harder on journalists and bloggers in 2016,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“It is no coincidence that nearly half of the nominees work in the bottom 20 of the 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. RSF hails the courage and determination of all these women and men with a common commitment to fighting for freedom of information.”
RSF’s programme director Lucie Morillon said: “A significant number of the nominees are unfortunately in the process of being prosecuted or are languishing in jail solely because they wanted to inform their fellow citizens about matters of public interest.”
Taban is one of the journalists in South Sudan whose paper has either been subjected to regular temporary closure or detention for publishing either personal opinions critical of the performance of the government or articles considered by the authorities as overstepping media role in critical matters.
He has had a number of summons and detentions for publishing in the Juba Monitor articles considered sensitive by the security service. His newspaper was closed once this year by the national security services but has had some of the papers seized and not allowed to circulate.
Taban also used to be arrested many times as an editor while in Khartoum before South Sudan seceded from neigbouring Sudan in 2011. The Reporters without Borders-TV5 Monde Prize for Press Freedom will be awarded to three laureates – a journalist, a media outlet and a citizen.
The award ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on 8 November. This is the 25th year the media campaign will have awarded this prize.