UJOSS condemns brief detention of 9 Journalists at Parliament

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

The Union of Journalist of South Sudan (UJOSS) yesterday condemned the arrest and brief detention of the nine Journalists by the National Security deployed at the Parliament.

The Journalist were arrested while on duty to cover the Ordinary sitting No. 13/2022 in Parliament where lawmakers from the SPLM-IO earlier boycotted the sitting prompting arrest of the journalists who took protest statement from the SPLM-IO MPs.

The Ordinary sitting was to tackle two main agenda on presentation of the report of the standing specialized committee on Legislation and Justice, on the Permanent Constitution Making Process Bill, and the presentation of a joint report of the standing specialized committee on Wildlife Conservation and Tourism and Committee for Justice and Legislation on the National Wildlife Service (Amendment) Bill 2022 at its third reading.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Oyet Patrick Charles, urged Journalists to continue practicing and excising their duties and not get discouraged.

In an inclusive interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Oyet condemned the arrest saying that it’s unacceptable; especially that it was an Ordinary sitting, which in accordance with the law and rule of Parliament is accepted and allowed for the Journalist to exercise their duties.

“There are three sittings, the first one is ordinary sitting, during this setting any ordinary person is allowed to go there and sit and listen, the only thing they cannot do is to comment, second one is sitting where Parliament sits and discuss and debate issues to do with security, in this sitting journalists cannot go in, unless if they were called to, third one is Assembly Business Committee, so the thing of saying journalists are not supposed to cover an ordinary sitting is a lie,” Oyet lamented.

Oyet further said this practices of stopping journalists to cover ordinary sittings in the Parliament are not there anywhere in the world.

He also said journalists should not be seen as people to air out things {News} for party B and leaving out party A.

 “Election is coming and public will need to know about it, and it will be the same journalists that will be the ones to cover the same activities,” the UJOSS Chairperson stressed.

However, when contacted the Chairperson of Information Committee and spokesperson of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), John Agany Deng’s number wasn’t reachable as the voice prompt said its switched off.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the R-TNLA Jemma Nunu Kunba also adjourned the siting that was to tackle the most important bill of the permanent constitution making process bill in its second reading.

She said despite the House having made the quorum to proceed with the sitting, it had to be called off since the members of the opposition SPLM-IO boycotted the Parliament session protesting the passing of the Political Parties Act Amendment Bill 2022.

Speaker Nunu said the issue will now be referred to the Presidency to settle the matter as the Parliament won’t reverse the passed bill again for re-tabling.

The SPLM-IO however bowed to continue with their protest of boycotting the Assembly sitting until their issues are addressed which they claimed the amended bills first drafted by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) are being altered.

This arrest and brief detention of journalists by security in the parliament for covering opposition news conferences comes as the second of its kind as 8 journalists were earlier this year also detained at the national Parliament premises for covering a news conference of opposition MPs.

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