The new media Law: what does it mean for Journalists, writers and ordinary citizens of South Sudan?

By Gai James Kai

September 11, 2014 (SSNA) — On Tuesday, 9th September 2014, the incompetence President of the would be Federal South Sudan signed into law what most South Sudanese refers as “long awaited” media law that the “serving Dogs” in the house (National Legislative Assembly) has voted unanimously to create what are intended to be the strongest media freedom laws In the history of South Sudan and the nation intends these measures to have national impact, by creating a safe haven for journalist and writers countrywide – and their servers.

The signed bill, also known as the South Sudan Modern Media Initiative- MMI, require changes to South Sudan`s media law to strengthen journalists and writers source protection, freedom of speech and expression and government transparency.

The disparate ruling party (SPLM-Juba) members of parliament voted for it, and the illegitimate President, and his other disciples present; says South Sudan`s National Legislative Assembly – NLA speaker AKA Magok Rundial, who has been the proposal`s chief sponsor claimed that South Sudanese are serious about this law yet he doesn’t means at all! The country is in the mood for openness after some serving dogs like Makuei Lueth saddled it with crippling threats to Journalists, writers and the entire media outlets of the new born nation (South Sudan), and the proposal bill ties nearly into the country`s strategy to prime servers` profession.

But although the National Legislative Assembly- NLA package sounds very encouraging from the a freedom of expression point of view, it`s not clear what the practical benefits will be to South Sudanese Journalists and writers. In my own analysis of the signed bill, I, Gai James Kai; as being a practicing lawyer and an activist have so far noted that, in one major test case of cross-border online libel law, this bill was deemed to occur at the point download – meaning that serving a controversial page from South Sudan won`t keep you journalists and writers from getting unlawful sued in the hands of the current reign of terror (SPLM_ Juba); unless otherwise. But if nothing else, it would probably prevent the government news outlets from being forcibly shut down; after all they serves the interest of government through spreading lies and propaganda.

There might be other benefits too. The whisperer so-called Magok Rundial says that it routes all submissions through South Sudan government (the disparate SPLM- Juba), where investigation into the identity of an anonymous government`s critics. He (Magok) was heavily involved in the drafting and promoting the new media law which they (SPLM-Juba) never dream of, and whatever opinion of their current controversies, they have proven remarkably immune to legal prosecution in their short history. Conceivably, other journalism organizations could gain some measure of legal protection for anonymous sources if all communication were routed through South Sudanese`s dreams.

All of which is to say that issues of press censorship have long since passed the point of nationalization when an aggrieved party (SPLM-Juba) can sue a publisher through Kangaroo court, press freedom must be understood – and fought for – at an national level. It has not only been an impact here in Juba, but in changing the dialog in South Sudan as whole.

But it will be some time before the full repercussion of South Sudan`s moves are felt. For a start, the new media law is not yet placed into practices. Some South Sudanese lawyers who drafted the bill and expects to have helped the “volunteer Mps” did so to climb the ladder of opportunity, not actually for the welfare of South Sudanese. The complex legislative change has been passed, but will it really impacted us the writers in the new nation? It should have been done since 2011!

And then it will be further years before we understand, from case law, exactly what an “offshore freedom of expression haven” means to journalists and writers countrywide. Nonetheless, I hope to get a discussion started amongst the high-powered media law and we will see if we can get a more precise understanding of the practical consequences of the new media law and how journalists and writers might use it to protect their work.

Gai James Kai is an independent analyst; who has written numerous articles on democracy, politics, human`s rights, Law and order and a Law student at Nkumba University – Kampala. He can be reached through [email protected] or search for him on Facebook using the above names.

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