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Gogrial state authorities dismiss death reports

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May 7, 2017 (JUBA) – Authorities in South Sudan’s Gogrial state have denied reports alleging that 21 people were killed in the region, describing it as an “unfounded and a made up story” from political opponents seeking attention.

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Map of South Sudan showing Warrap state in red

The state information minister, Ariech Mayar Ariech said he was surprised about reports alleging 21 people were killed in the state during what was portrayed as a communal fight.

“I would like to make a few clarifications. One clarification is that there is no youth union president in Gogrial State, there have not been elections. The youth are still organising and when they finish, it will be a public event and everybody will know,” Ariech told Sudan Tribune Sunday.

He added, “If there is someone claiming to be the president of Gorgrial he has to tell the public who elected him and when.”

The information minister also attributed the “falsified” story to be a ploy by people who want to create panic in the new state.

“The second clarification I would like to make is about the people alleged to have been killed. We made a search from village to village and we had multiple corroborating intelligence sources from various types of intelligence that told us nothing about these incidents. We came to find that the story was a creation of people who want to spark panic by fabricating stories to draw attention,” he stressed.

The minister also emphasised that the government respects the right of each individual to exercise freedom of speech, saying that media outlets also have an ultimate duty to ensure that the public is not misinformed.

Ariech, however, said the media must be held accountable for the dissemination of information that is “false” and “misleading”.

“Responsible and accountable journalism is all about ensuring accuracy, fairness and balance. As the government of Gogrial state we understand that our actions are subject to public scrutiny,” explained the information minister.

He further added, “However the publications of unverified information are dangerous and could amount to inciting public unrest, which is unacceptable”.

The minister challenged journalist to be professional, saying disseminating unproven information will undermine the profession.

“The continuous publication of unverified information calls into question the professional etiquette and standing of journalism,” he said, adding “Media code of ethics, embraces accuracy, balance and fairness in reporting”.

(ST)

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  • 8 May 08:43, by South South

    Sudantribune will not stop lying.

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