Will South Sudanese Journalists be safe from Media bill signed in Juba?

By Peter Gai Manyuon

September 14, 2014 (SSNA) — What will help professional Journalists in the Media bill that was signed on the 9th of September 2014 in Juba? Will government of South Sudan leave hunting for Journalists?  Something that need observation properly!

After reading the news about Media Bill signing on Tuesday 9th of September 2014 in Juba Capital, I smiled a bit. And one of the reasons why I smiled was what was taking place since the Independence up to the time crisis culminated in the Republic of South Sudan on December 15th 2014.

Moreover, South Sudanese Journalists have been yarning for the Media bill to be pass in the Parliament since the genesis of Southern Sudan government and subsequently Republic of South Sudan  government but nothing materialize due to the fact that John Luk Jock who was the former Minister of Justice become the problem to Journalists and activists by then up to the time of current regime where Hon Makuei Lueth became the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in South Sudan , which  I contextualized his coming took the whole country to mess due to his propagandists and lack of good public Relations and strategic mass communication.

In number of occasions comrade Makuei Lueth the Minister of Information and Broadcasting , Ateny Wek the Presidential spokesperson , Philip Aguer the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) Spokesperson, Malak Ayuen the Director of Information and Public Relations within the Army and so on, have been talking nonsensical talks here and there about Journalists reporting of analyzing issues in the Country.  The question is, will those different spokespersons respect Journalists rights or will still interrogates? Something that need to be look at properly by the world and different stakeholders in the newest Nation!

Hence, South Sudanese Journalists have been subjected to killings like the elimination of the Political commentator Isaiah Abraham who was killed by security agents in his resident at Gudele in Juba in 2012 December as well torturing one of Journalist Dengdit Ayok who was almost to be kill in Cairo by the group of agents instructed by Juba culprits.  Realistically, where is Media freedom and expression here?

Basically, Journalists have been facing a lot of intimidations, interrogations, from Hon Makuei Lueth , Philip Aguer and the former Civil society Activist called Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny who was appointed with a decree  last year which I believe shocked the world and the newest nation audiences.

Many people says, there is no press secretaries that can be appointed using a decree accept in the Republic of South Sudan where leadership is becoming a joke and eating. Something very disgraceful indeed!

After going through the sound bites of Ateny Wek Ateny  Ateny where he  told reporters on Tuesday that Kiir had approved the bills, which were signed into laws at 11am (local time), citing the president’s “tight schedule” as the reason for his failure to meet with journalists.

That very bite indicates lack of interest from Presidency on the signing of the Media bill in to Law.

“I know there has been some inconvenience because this (signing) should have happened in September last year, days after the parliament passed it,” he added.

However, in the global world where Media act as the watchdog, the media laws pertain to access to information, media authority and broadcasting and cooperation law.

The bills provide measures for the creation of a national, independent public service provider and the establishment of an independent body to oversee content and deal with complaints, as well protecting the right of every citizen, including journalists, to access official information.

Ideally, World must know that President Kiir Mayardit and his regime have failed totally to protect Journalists, activists and Lawyers rights. Therefore, it is recommendable for the International Community and globe to monitor human rights violation carry on by the government of South Sudan in Juba. Truly speaking Journalists are still hiding from time to time due to the fact that, no Law that protect the practicing Journalists.

I really doubt about the bill signed in to Law, it might be a confusing document that is temporary put in place meanwhile National Security will continue eliminating Journalists and human rights defenders like Lawyers respectively.

One of the Recommendable ideas is for the Professional Journalists to stills continue addressing Legal issues and Human rights monitoring and evaluation in South Sudan no matter what might be the case in the face of dictatorial regime in Juba. It is the role of Journalists to talk on behaves of the voiceless masses that don’t know their rights and aspirations.

The author is an Independent Veteran Journalist who has written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan.  He is now reachable on [email protected] or www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com.

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