News / Africa

South Sudan to Test Drive UN Media Safety Plan

Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
— Journalists and U.N. officials on Wednesday hailed South Sudan's decision to be a pilot country for a United Nations initiative aimed at creating a free and safe environment for media workers.

Journalist Elam Denis Ejulu welcomed Juba's decision to be the pilot country for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists, saying it would help to protect "journalists against harassment."

It was also "long overdue," he said.

"We lack media laws in this country.  We have been on self-censorship for fear of getting into trouble with the authorities."

Freelance journalist Joseph Oduha called the initiative "something that can really help," but voiced concern over whether there are safeguards in place in the event that the government should violate the terms of the initiative.

According to the UN News Service, the U.N.'s Special Representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, said in a statement released on Sunday that, "The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) welcomes the Government's decision to increase the safety of journalists in the country and address the issue of impunity."

The U.N. plan outlines a series of activities to be put in place including helping the government to develop laws that safeguard journalists; developing safety training courses for journalists; establishing real-time emergency response mechanisms; and strengthening the safety of journalists in conflict zones, among others.
It also calls for defamation to be decriminalized, for more protection for women journalists "in response to the increasing incidence of sexual harassment and rape," and adequate pay for media workers.

UNMISS spokesperson Kouider Zerouk said, "It shows the determination of the government and its commitment to take this issue and to resolve it through the legal framework, which is the respect of human rights in general and the respect of freedom of expression and safety journalists.”

He also said the initiative was "very timely as we have had reports about harassment of journalists, for instance," without going into detail.
UNMISS recently reported that two members of its human rights staff were "interrogated following their inquiries into the condition of a detained local journalist."

South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said South Sudan will cooperate with the U.N. to implement the initiative and ensure that journalists are protected.

But Marial called on the U.N. to also educate journalists, saying: "Some of our journalists need further training so that they also know their responsibilities..."

South Sudan ranked 124th out of 179 countries -- 13 places down from the previous  ranking -- in the 2013 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

The fall in the rankings came "after the murder of a columnist – the first killing
of its kind in the new country – as news organizations and journalists awaited the approval of three new laws on the media," Reporters without Borders said. 

South Sudan has not yet passed any media laws.


You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid