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S. Sudan women body condemns attack on female journalists

October 4, 2019 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese women organization has condemned last week’s attack by a military official on two female journalists, saying the act contravened national and international laws in place to promote and protect women’s rights.

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Journalists attend a briefing on new media laws approved by South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, on 9 September 2014 (ST)

Two female journalists reported on Thursday last week that they were physically attacked by General Malaak Ayuen Ajok, the South Sudan army’s (SSPDF) director of information and public relations.

The two female journalists were part of the media fraternity invited to cover the seventh military command council conference, which was opened by President Salva Kiir at the military headquarters in Juba.

South Sudan Women’s Coalition for Peace (SSWCP), in a letter addressed to the army chief of staff, said it is aggrieved by the actions of the senior military officer on the journalists doing their work.

“We consider any attack of this nature on any one woman as attack on women’s collective efforts to build South Sudan,” it partly reads.

The women entity also demanded that the army publicly apologizes for its officer’s act and hold him accountable for his bizarre action.

“We demand the SSPDF to, in fulfillment of a sitting government’s primary responsibility, protect all its citizens, and educate all soldiers about the peace agreement and all relevant human rights treaties, conventions and instruments,” further noted SSWCP’s statement.

Amnesty International also condemned the attack on the two female journalists, saying the act restricts freedom of expression and media freedom.

Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, dozens of reporters have been subject to intimidation, arrest, censorship and violence. At least 10 journalists, Reporters Without Borders, were killed in South Sudan between 2014 and 2017.

(ST)