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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid