Responding to news that a military officer on 31 October 2019 physically assaulted two female journalists during a military meeting addressed by President Salva Kiir, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango said:
“This shocking incident is part of a sustained effort by the South Sudanese authorities for years now to restrict the right to freedom of expression and media freedom including through arbitrary arrests of journalists, suspension of media organizations and the revocation of accreditation for foreign correspondents deemed critical of the government.
“The authorities’ suppression of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom ahead of the formation of the long-awaited transitional government of national unity is deeply troubling.
“The Government of South Sudan must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to freedom of expression and media freedom in the country.”
“The authorities must stop harassing, intimidating and attacking journalists and media practitioners and promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate allegations of attacks against journalists and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible in fair trials.”
On 30 October 2019, the South Sudanese authorities confiscated the accreditation and work permit of Associated Press’ correspondent, Sam Mednick. The South Sudan Media Authority said they revoked her accreditation on 23 October because of an article she wrote about tensions in the capital Juba ahead of the formation of the unity government.
In July, Michael Rial Christopher, editor of the Al-Watan newspaper, was arbitrarily arrested and detained for over a month, widely believed to be over an article he published about the protests in Sudan.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.