July 5, 2008 (LONDON) — A rights group advocating for the freedom of expression urged the southern Sudan government to remove government control over the media in the semi- autonomous region.
ARTICLE 19 suggests, in a press statement issued yesterday to remove the right of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to exercise any regulatory powers over broadcasting from the draft Bill related to the organization of the ministry.
The freedom of expression watchdog also urges that the broadcasting service Bill and broadcasting authority Bill clarify the independence from the State of the Southern Sudanese Public Service Broadcaster and Independent Broadcasting Authority, respectively.
ARTICLE 19 has been working closely with the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting for the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) and wider Southern Sudanese civil society for the development and revision of the four South Sudanese draft media legislations.
The four draft media bills are: the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Organisation (MoIBO) Bill, Southern Sudan Public Service Broadcasting (SSPSB) Bill, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IAB) Bill and the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.
The press organization welcomed the draft Media Bills saying they are "largely conform to international standards". However, it said indentified area for further improvements to the drafts.
According to ARTICLE 19, all the four drafts of laws lack a preamble or set of guiding principles situating each draft Bill within the broader framework of international human rights law applicable to South Sudan.
The inclusion of guiding principles in the drafts reflects a commitment to respect international and regional instruments protecting freedom of expression rights to which Sudan is a party to;" said ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, Dr. Agnes Callamard.