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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid