News / Africa

Is South Sudan Government Trying to Mute Federalism Debate?

A report in a South Sudanese newspaper on Monday, June 30, 2014 says security officials have told the media not to report debate on switching to a federal system of government.A report in a South Sudanese newspaper on Monday, June 30, 2014 says security officials have told the media not to report debate on switching to a federal system of government.
x
A report in a South Sudanese newspaper on Monday, June 30, 2014 says security officials have told the media not to report debate on switching to a federal system of government.
A report in a South Sudanese newspaper on Monday, June 30, 2014 says security officials have told the media not to report debate on switching to a federal system of government.

South Sudanese media bosses have sent a letter to Information Minister Michael Makuei, asking if the government was behind an order not to publish or broadcast information about a federal system of government, a local newspaper said.

The Citizen Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday that, "Editors of media houses ... convened a forum to write to the Minister of Information to seek clarification on verbal directives by security personnel to desist from publishing disseminations related to federalism in the country."

According to the paper, the editors' letter to Makuei says that "individuals purporting to work for security agencies... are going around and issuing verbal directives to editors not to publish any articles on the federalism debate."

The editors go on to say in the letter that, in spite of the warnings, they intend to "continue to give a platform to all sides to... freely air views, because not doing so violates the right of freedom of expression," Citizen Daily said.

If the warning is confirmed as being from official sources, it would "paint the government in a bad light at a time when the government needs all the goodwill to resolve our current crises," the editors wrote in the letter.

Government denies involvement

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny denied that the government has banned public debate about federalism.

"The debate about federalism or any system of governance is enshrined under the freedom of expression under Article 24 of the constitution, so we cannot curtail anybody's freedom of speech, about any system of governance they might want to discuss, " he said.

"The journalists might not be saying the truth because the president has not issued any order so far," he said.

Ateny said President Salva Kiir's priority is to restore peace in South Sudan, not to engage in a debate about what system of governance the country should have. Once South Sudan is at peace again, Ateny said Mr. Kiir would support a referendum to decide what the right system of governance should be.

Ban on interviews with rebels

A government ban on the discussion about federalism would not be a first in South Sudan. In March, Makuei told South Sudan in Focus that reporters who broadcast or publish interviews with rebel leaders inside South Sudan are engaging in "subversive activity."

"When you come and disseminate this poisonous information inside South Sudan, it is an offense," said Makuei, a lawyer by profession. 

But a South Sudanese legal expert told VOA at the time that South Sudan's penal code "does not bar journalists from broadcasting interviews with rebels."

The expert, who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity from an undisclosed country of exile, added that the constitution guarantees South Sudanese the "right to communicate freely."

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Modi from: AZ
July 03, 2014 1:56 AM
Kuch,
Just talk about yourself for you dont represents the whole of South Sudan, Your blind hatred is nauseating to say the least. If you're a narrow minded person as your comment suggests, then do not assume that we South Sudanese share the same idiotic and hateful rants like you.

(The comment this is referring to was deleted because it contained racist and inciteful statements.)


by: Juma emmanuel
July 03, 2014 1:07 AM
Why do some people fear federalism in s.sudan?


by: LUBAJOS EMMA from: JUBA
July 02, 2014 3:02 PM
When there is always dictatorial government that's how it will be

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid