News / Africa

South Sudan Journalist Released, Bakhita Radio Still Silent

Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity State.Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity State.
x
Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity State.
Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity State.
Philip AleuNabeel Biajo

The news editor of Juba-based Bakhita Radio was released Tuesday, four days after he was detained by national security agents who also ordered the radio station to stop broadcasting.

David Nicholas Ocen was released after the Union of Journalists in South Sudan mediated on his behalf and the director of Bakhita Radio, Albino Tokwaro, sent a letter of apology to the government for a report about renewed fighting in Unity state, Tokwaro said.

The government said the report on the clashes near Bentiu, which aired on Saturday, blamed its troops for starting the fighting. The story included a quote from acting SPLA spokesman Joseph Marier Samuel, who said rebel forces started the fighting in Unity state by attacking government positions, and rebel spokesman Peter Riek Gew who said quite the opposite -- that government troops attacked positions held by his side.

Ocen and his colleagues were detained on Saturday, shortly after the story aired. Because he was the lead author of the story, Ocen was held in custody until Tuesday, while his colleagues were released after a few hours.

The government does not want us to continue with some political programs.

Tokwaro said that although Ocen was free, the radio station was still off the air. When it resumes its broadcasts, things are likely to be different, he said, because the security services have asked the Catholic church, which runs Bakhita Radio, "to go and discuss with them the modalities of the programs that will be presented."

"The government does not want us to continue with some political programs,” Tokwaro said.

Harassment of media

The East Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Tom Rhodes, has said at least 10 journalists have been threatened or detained since South Sudan plunged into conflict in December.

“Security forces in various different offices act with total impunity when it comes to the press. They harass and detain journalists at will,” Rhodes said.

He said that truthful reporting has become a casualty of South Sudan’s conflict, at a time that people desperately need to know the facts.

“We are seeing such a high level of censorship that I worry the South Sudanese public are not getting an accurate picture of what’s going on,” he said.

U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States is "monitoring the situation closely" and "urged the government of South Sudan to fully adhere to its constitutional guarantees and international obligations."

Government: Journalists free to report on conflict

South Sudan presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny insisted that journalists are free to report on the conflict in the country, as long as they respect certain limits.

“You cannot just say anything, anytime. You have to calculate the consequences of the words you want to give to the public. Just because you’re a journalist, it’s not a ticket to say anything, anytime,” he said.

On Monday, Ateny said the report aired by Bakhita Radio had left the army vulnerable and was, therefore, a violation of national security. That kind of reporting, he said, will not be tolerated by the government.

A montage of the Juba Monitor newspaper and an excerpt from the UN Plan for the Safety of Journalists. Four print runs of the Juba Monitor have been seized since South Sudan erupted in violence in December.A montage of the Juba Monitor newspaper and an excerpt from the UN Plan for the Safety of Journalists. Four print runs of the Juba Monitor have been seized since South Sudan erupted in violence in December.
x
A montage of the Juba Monitor newspaper and an excerpt from the UN Plan for the Safety of Journalists. Four print runs of the Juba Monitor have been seized since South Sudan erupted in violence in December.
A montage of the Juba Monitor newspaper and an excerpt from the UN Plan for the Safety of Journalists. Four print runs of the Juba Monitor have been seized since South Sudan erupted in violence in December.

Veteran South Sudanese journalist Jacob Akol said the government should not "pretend there is freedom of the press in South Sudan while at the same time letting the security loose on the press."

"While the media is told they are free to report anything within the law, media houses are closed and journalists are arrested, detained or intimidated by the security (services), without reference to any law," Akol told South Sudan in Focus in an email.

"This is a very unhealthy and confusing position for the media" and was creating a climate of fear, Akol said.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, said in a live chat on Twitter that the United Nations was "concerned" about the shutdown of Bakhita Radio and the "apparent hardening of the media climate in South Sudan."

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs