Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sudan Tribune

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Groups call for ending impunity against journalists in S. Sudan

October 31, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudanese security authorities must end impunity against journalists in the country, the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said in a joint statement on Monday.

The joint statement comes ahead of the ‘International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists’, due on November 2.

The joint statement expressed concerns about the persistent increase in the assaults, threats, intimidations, arrests and detentions of journalists as well as closure of media houses.

“The 2021 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists highlights the instrumental role of prosecutorial services, investigating and prosecuting not only killings but also threats of violence against journalists,” the statement, also extended to Sudan Tribune, reads in part.

“However, as we approach the day, we call for an end to all crimes and threats against journalists and urge all relevant stakeholders in the country, including members of the security personnel to respect the work of journalists,” it added.

Meanwhile, there were also calls for authorities in South Sudan to investigate cases involving journalists before acting.

“The issue of impunity against journalists in South Sudan is real and clear evidence that freedom of expression and the rights to information is still problematic in the country,” said Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of CEPO.

The role of journalists in this country remains crucial especially during this time of the peace agreement implementation, constitution-making process and elections slated for 2023.

UJOSS and CEPO urge the Media Authority of South Sudan, Information Commission and the Communication Authority to take the lead towards ending impunity against journalists.

“The development of the code of conduct for journalists by the Media Authority of South Sudan is a great step towards correcting the situation of impunity against journalists. CEPO and UJOSS will partner with the Media Authority to disseminate the journalist’ code of conduct,” stressed Yakani.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on November 2, 2013.

South Sudan is ranked 139th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders (RSF’s) 2021 World Press Freedom Index.