Good News!, Two more SSBC Staff Released
In a welcome development for press freedom in South Sudan, the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) announced on Tuesday evening that two more journalists who work for the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC) have been released from the National Security Service’s detention facility.
This follows the arrest of six journalists on 3 and 4 January, and another SSBC journalist, Garang John, in late January 2023 on allegations of capturing President Salva Kiir Mayardit wetting his trousers in a public function. While three of the detained journalists were released in February without due process, two remained in detention until now.
According to Patrick Oyet, the UJOSS President, Victor Ladu, and Mustafa Osman were unconditionally released earlier in the day, leaving Garang John and Jacob Benjamin still in detention.
“The continuous detention of journalists does not play well for press freedom,” Oyet stated. “The last time a journalist died in this country was in 2017 when the American journalist Christopher Allen was killed in Kaya. From that time up to now, the situation has been a little bit okay, and even the creation of media authority has helped because we now have somebody to turn to.”
Oyet further emphasized that South Sudan’s Constitution prohibits authorities from holding suspects for more than 24 hours without taking them to court. He called on the government to release the remaining two journalists or arraign them before a court if they have a case to answer.
This development underscores the challenges facing journalists in South Sudan, where press freedom is often curtailed, and journalists face risks and challenges in their line of work. The release of these journalists is a positive development, but there is still work to be done to ensure that journalists can carry out their work without fear of harassment or detention.
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