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South Sudan veteran journalist calls to lift ban on foreign correspondents

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Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) chairman Oliver Modi (L) attends a meeting on the killing of South Sudanese journalist Peter Moi in Juba on August 21, 2015 . (AFP/Samir Bol Photo)
June 9, 2017 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese veteran journalist and the editor in chief of a daily newspaper in Juba has called for a reverse of a decision barring foreign journalists from entering and operating in the country.

"The country is in dialogue which requires media coverage. It is not the time to bar media from entering and operating in South Sudan. It is a time to allow them to come and report what they see so that they can give out correct information and help in disseminating information of the dialogue," Alfred Taban, chairperson of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) told Sudan Tribune on Friday

The Veteran South Sudanese journalist was reacting to a decision by the South Sudan Media Authority (SSMA) banning unnamed 20 foreign journalists from entering or operating in the country for what it termed “unsubstantiated and unrealistic stories”.

The chairman of the regulatory agency, Elijah Alier, Thursday claimed that the banned journalists had often reported stories with the potential to incite hate and violence among the South Sudanese. Alier, who did not disclose any names, said the SSMA had issued over 200 permits to foreign journalists and media houses to operate in the country.

These journalists, he said, had filed stories that insulted or degraded South Sudan and its people. sometimes, he claimed, they incite violence rather than encouraging the public to embrace peace. these reports, he adds, undermines the provisions of the Media Authority Act.

Taban said the decision of the public funded Media Authority to ban foreign journalists was in favour of the government and not the country and so its actions may not be helpful and should be reversed.

"The media authority should not be a tool to stifle press freedom and media activities in the country. It should be the one to enhance a working relation between the government and the media instead o becoming part of the government. It should be a regulatory body but what it has done now will not help facilitate the smooth working relations between the media and the government. It will discourage foreign media to not enter South Sudan because they know they will not be protected and this will have an impact on the dialogue process. And it means there is something which the government wants to hide from the public," said the veteran journalist.

Alier, however, admitted that foreign journalists can contribute to mobilising international community on the humanitarian issues in the country.

“Reporting about the humanitarian situation is acceptable. Such reports are helping South Sudan as they inform the world and the donor community,” he said.

Recently, the South Sudanese authorities have rejected to authorise foreign journalists working with international media agencies or services such as AFP, Reuters and Voice of America among others.

South Sudan is one of the countries in the world which has increasingly become repressive and dangerous for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Several journalists have died in the young nation.

(ST)

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  • 10 June 12:20, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Good work Alfred Taban.

    repondre message

  • 10 June 15:51, by Don-Don Malith Rual

    Mr Alfred Taban was very well respected African BBC correspondent ,i was asking my colleagues the other day that if SS Media need to modify, pple like him re the primary contacted sources. What is need to be strengthened is the code of conduct plus ethnic n the language/ tone of reporting. N accuracy

    repondre message

    • 10 June 16:08, by Kuch

      Alfred it is you take up arms & not be a journalist. You are not even close to South Sudan’s rigorous journalism.
      We don’t like rubbish let alone the Equatorians the evils often use to kill our people. Fellows, we are going to destroy you & your rubbish out of country once and for all.

      repondre message

      • 11 June 05:33, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

        Kuch,

        Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat those words. Wide and loud mouth without teeth it. Can you even think of destroying a fly? Mind you you did not create Equatorians in Equatoria as your property for destruction.

        repondre message

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