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South Sudan to declare state of emergency if peace talks fail

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May 5, 2015 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese government has vowed to declare a state of emergency should the current situation in the world’s youngest nation continue unabated.

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South Sudanese information minister Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmara)

Speaking during this year’s world press day occasion in the capital, Juba, the country’s information minister said government would also take tougher measures against media house whose activities undermine national security.

“Let us work for peace and it is only through peace that you will work in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere because if the situation continues like this, then a day may come when we may be forced to declare a state of emergency”, said Michael Makuei.

He said government operatives would continue taking charge even if media laws exist.

“Even if the media laws are operational today and the courts are set up and all these are set up, the national security law is there and it will continue to operate because this is the only mechanism for protection of the nation, security wise”, Makuei warned.

The minister underscored the role media plays in any developing situation, explaining that the latter can either create or contribute negatively or positively to events.

“You know the negative role the media played in Rwanda in 1994, that cannot be entertained. It is not acceptable. Everything has a limit and people must operate within the legal parameters because any freedom comes with responsibility,” he stressed.

He said the government has never taken to court any journalist to answer for any claims related to coverage but would do so when situation requires, wondering why his country should be different when the whole world was taking journalists to court.

“Up to now we have not taken any journalist to the court but we will do so. Yes, we will do so, because they are being taken to the court all over the world. It is only South Sudan where they have not taken anybody up to now,” said the information minister.

“So if calling anybody to national security and to talking him and setting him free is becoming a problem, then we will apply the law as it is a situation that we don’t want to enter," said Makuei, defending operatives who summon and question suspects.

Afred Taban, the chairperson for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), said significant levels of tension still exist between security organs and the media in the country because of the confusion resulting from lack of understanding of given roles.

Koang Pal Chang, the head of the national editors’ forum said tension between the two institutions would continue to be the cause of concern until when media laws are established, boundaries drawn and everyone becomes aware of their exact roles.

“Until this body is established, we the editors have nothing to celebrate about the press freedom and the freedom of expression in this country,” said Chang.

"There is nothing to celebrate simply because the security will continue harassing the editors by telling them not to publish views from certain people that the government does not like," he added.

The minister, however, admitted that the situation would not change until when peace is restore, urging media houses in the country to focus on peace as being a priority.

(ST)

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  • 6 May 2015 06:14, by Mayom County Boy

    Declaring state of emergency ,means south Sudan government doesn’t want peace to come,peace will come by all means,I urge trioka plus I HAD / AU to pressure two warring parties to accept peace in the country.

    repondre message

    • 6 May 2015 08:25, by Lorolokin

      Michael Makuei,
      Is it not you who said in the other day that peace is by the corner? We been waiting and nothing materialise.
      Why you guys wanted to detain this country for your own self interest.

      repondre message

    • 6 May 2015 20:06, by chuol

      Mayom County Girl is an idiot

      repondre message

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