News / Africa

Rights Group Warns of Media Repression in S. Sudan

A person reads the Juba Monitor on the day the paper ran the story about the U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists. South Sudan has agreed to test drive the plan, which calls for defamation to be decriminalized.A person reads the Juba Monitor on the day the paper ran the story about the U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists. South Sudan has agreed to test drive the plan, which calls for defamation to be decriminalized.
x
A person reads the Juba Monitor on the day the paper ran the story about the U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists. South Sudan has agreed to test drive the plan, which calls for defamation to be decriminalized.
A person reads the Juba Monitor on the day the paper ran the story about the U.N. Mission in South Sudan's (UNMISS) Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists. South Sudan has agreed to test drive the plan, which calls for defamation to be decriminalized.
Jill Craig
A U.S. rights group warned this week that media repression is casting a chill over free speech in South Sudan, where a writer who was critical of the government in Juba was killed several months ago.

Sonni Efron, a Senior Government Fellow at Human Rights First, said attacks on journalists, such as the unsolved killing in December of political commentator Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, who frequently criticized the South Sudanese government in his writing, have a "chilling effect" on citizens' access to information.

“These attacks and murders of journalists have a profound, chilling effect on the free flow of information that is so important to all countries, but especially to the development of a new democracy like South Sudan,” Efron said.

Five months after Diing's murder, police have still made little progress in their investigation, and no one has been arrested in connection with the killing.

Efron warned that, with media moving online and onto mobile devices, some governments could look for new ways to block access to information.

“Digital repression is really a threat in a range of ways that haven’t been fully recognized yet," she said.

Instead of obstructing citizens' access to news, governments, including South Sudan's, should work with information consumers and producers to develop an atmosphere "where journalists can practice their profession without fear of repression or attack or, God forbid, even murder..."

"It’s going to be, of course, useful to the South Sudanese people but it’s also going to be good for South Sudan’s position in the world,” she said.

Human Rights First last week teamed up with the U.S. State Department to launch the Free the Press Campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of media freedom worldwide ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which fell on Friday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to shine a spotlight on violations of press freedom and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 70 journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2012, and of that number, 32 were murdered. The organization says it was one of the deadliest years on record for reporters.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine has called on governments around the world to make developing and supporting independent journalism a top priority.

“Just as you need an enabling environment for economic growth or for democratic transition, you need an enabling environment for media development,” she said. 

Sonenshine said media freedom isn’t just important – it’s necessary.

“Information is as basic to me as water and air because without it, you are trapped,” she said.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More