Seven journalists and an activist were briefly detained in the Parliamentary Precincts.
At least seven journalists and one activist were apprehended yesterday on the premises of the South Sudan Legislative Assembly. This was following an invitation by the National Council of States to use the gathering to summon governors to give updates on security.
A journalist (victim) told Patrick Oyet, President of the Union of Journalists, that they were pulled into a vehicle and driven to an unknown location, about which they had no knowledge.
Patrick said that after several follow-ups, national security denied that the journalists were detained by police.
He continued to say that the 7 journalists and activists were eventually located and taken to a secret office along Bilpham Road, but when asked why they were arrested, neither the security officers nor the journalists and activists could give any honest explanation due to the potential trauma they might have experienced.
“I got a phone call from one of my colleagues who had been detained, telling me that they had been placed in a vehicle and taken to an unknown location.” When the national security personnel were questioned, they denied arresting journalists. Then we were directed to a specific office, where we found all the detained journalists and activists.” Patrick added.
Additionally, he revealed that none of the detained journalists or activists had been injured when he examined them. All of their equipment had been recovered, and they were all in excellent health.
The journalists and activists, as well as their media equipment, were in perfect condition. They had not been harmed or tortured in any way. Only one of the female journalists had flown overseas for specific purposes, but scheduling constraints prevented her from doing so.
In contrast, Patrick urged national, state, and local governments to give journalists access to information as well as a free environment to work in.
According to Edmund Yakani, executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress, what occurred violated the law of free expression and access to information.
“I encourage the legislative security agency to respect journalists and enable them to freely disseminate information,” he said.