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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid