Government officials, activists warned against public confusion

By Bida Elly David

The Managing Director of South Sudan Media Authority has warned government officials against using the Social media platforms for promoting hate speech or disseminating information of their own interest urging them to avoid acting like activists.

The development transpired during a three day drill on the significance of innovation and technology under the theme connecting South Sudan.

Speaking during the event yesterday, Elijah Alier Kuai, the managing director of South Sudan Media Authority said that government officials are only entitled to release information to the media in press release, reports or texts through the right department.

“Media has the power to influence people positively or negatively towards a particular way of thinking upon which they will draw by opinion. Media must therefore be independent, transparent and truthful and balanced in dissemination of information to the public to enable them make informed decisions,” he said.

“Government is entitled to release information to the media in press releases, reports or texts of speeches through the department of the spokesperson mandated to pass government’s information to the public,” he continued.

Alier also slammed some activists for spreading hate speech, attacking the government and connecting the rest of the society saying that access to information would only be carried upon acceptance from the source.

“The news media can directly gain access to discussions and debates about government policies and publish them. However, no government officials have the right to speak to the media other than the authorized officials,” Alier stated.

When at a scene of an incident, it is only the police officer in charge to speak to the press. Social media platform is sometimes wrongly used by some activists in spreading hate speech attacking the government and to connect the rest of the society,” he said.

He underscored the need for government officials to be informed to use the social media responsibly to mitigate misinformation and lack of public trust in service delivery.

“The authority and the media members of the media fraternity as well as the public should learn and be aware of Cyber-crimes and learn the protective measures. We have different roles in managing and disseminating information having the duty of care and collective responsibility to circulate government policies and information to safe guard the territory and integrity of the Country,” he said

He added that the media authority since its establishment in 2016 has so far registered two hundred and thirty eight (238) media entities comprising of the print and broadcast and other enterprises across the Country.

Alier said that the authority has investigated and resolved over eighty (80) cases of media malpractices and violation of media ethics by some entities in the Country.

However, he underscored that the authority has rejected more than twenty (20) foreign journalists against promoting hate speeches among the people.

Finally, he called on all media houses whether foreign or national to focus much on facts to avoid incitement of violence across the Country.

In his part Napoleon Adok Gai, the Director General for the National Communication Authority (NCA) said that innovation and connectivity was the only way to excel communication and technology in South Sudan.

He said that the national communication authority relied on the pubic contribution in regards to improving their Information and Communication services to the people.

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