New York, November 7, 2013 (SSNA) — The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) strongly urges the South Sudan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Honourable Justice Michael Makuei Lueth to respect the rule of law, freedom of speech, media and expression which are at the heart of democratic governance. The Minister ought to abide by the values for which South Sudan sacrificed millions of lives as it fought bloody wars of liberation against successive military dictatorships of North Sudan. The unfortunate utterances against media as attributed to Justice Makuei which he has not denied, were clear intimidations of the press community, a violation of Article 24 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011, which obliges all levels of government to guarantee the freedom of the press and the media. Being a former freedom fighter himself, former Minister of Justice, Member of National Assembly and lawyer, it was improper for his kind to lash out such unbecoming statements. The Minister could have done better to publish another version that could have negated the version of the media coverage he believed as untrue about the health of the President of the Republic as alleged to have recently gone to South Africa for medical attention. His intimidating words towards the media practitioners show the destructive, bitter and dictatorial path South Sudan is going through. It is in the best interest of Hon. Justice Makuei as a good citizen to ensure the smooth transition to democracy, justice and equality being the values of South Sudan Constitution which document he was one of the key architects.
SSHURSA calls upon him to stop the intimidations and harassment of the media and ensure that Media Bills are quickly enacted into laws which the government has failed to do so since the year 2005. SSHURSA also calls upon the Members of the National Legislative Assembly to ensure that media laws are quickly in place to regulate the media community and protect the journalists and writers from being harassed and intimidated by those misusing the power in the government.
SSHURSA finally urges the media practitioners to continue acting without fear or favour but within the confines of the Constitution. SSHURSA warns that transition to peaceful, democratic and rule of law nation, cannot be done in the atmosphere of fear, dictatorships, intimidations and misuse of power but under respect of rule of law for which the region poured the blood of its people to attain.
About SSHURSA: SSHURSA is a non political and nonprofit making national human rights organization with a vision for democratic, human rights and rule of law abiding South Sudan. Its mission is to monitor human rights and train general public on rule of law, human rights and Governance. For more information about SSHURSA or this press statement, contact us through: E-mail: [email protected], or visit us at: www.sshursa.org