National, News

Gov’t brands UN Human Rights Commission “bias”

By Mamer Abraham


South Sudan Media Authority has branded the United Nations Commission on Human Rights ‘bias’ over its recent report on the breach of freedom of expression in the country.

Elijah Alier Kwai, the Managing Director of Media Authority, said in a statement that the report lacked adequate evidence.

He however, admitted that the organization only removes misleading stories from publication but they do not have access to websites hosted outside the country.

“The sentiments in this commission’s report are baseless propaganda, a total fabrication of the general situation. The negative narratives of civic space and media freedom quoted in the report do not accurately confirm the real situation,” Alier said in his response to the UN Rights Body report.

The managing director described online publications as proxy and hostile, and they do not have any control over them.

“All media houses located outside the country are proxy and hostile unknown media, not registered in South Sudan, nor does the Media Authority have any contact with the managers. The online platforms are hosted outside the country; the authority doesn’t even have capacity or access to the domains hosting their data,” Alier responded.

He argued that the UN commission did not grant the relevant authorities the right to reply and instead published a one-sided story.

“The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan’s report lacks reliability of sources, validity of information, concrete evidence, consultations that were not genuine, and did not give a chance for a right of reply to concerned entities such as the Media Authority,” he continued.

According to Alier, the report did not meet the required evidentiary standards.

“It was influenced by one-sided sources and conflicts of interest without cross-checking with the other parties,” he added.

Media authority also denied the accusation of blocking public events like trainings and rallies.

Alier said the authority issues “no objection letters” as a means of protecting people in such events, adding that letters is issued for free of charge.

“The no obligation authorization is a protective obligation by the authority to ensure that nobody interferes, obstructs, or stops the organizers’ from conducting the affairs of the event. In case of any suspicion or mishap, the authority is the one to respond and defend the organizers,” Alier explained.

The Director said that Media Authority continues with its mandate to promote freedom of expression and media independence in South Sudan.

Last month, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) was stopped from conducting an event to welcome Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, a prominent South Sudanese politician.

However, the minister for information, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the event might have been stopped due to reasons known better to the organizers’ and that he was not in a position to know what happened in the houses of individuals.

Stop censorship

The UN Commission on Human Rights report titled “Entrenched Repression: The Systemic Curtailment of Democratic and Civic Space in South Sudan,” was released last week.

In the report, the rights body pushed the government of South Sudan to curb media censorship and open civic and political space ahead of the 2024 general elections.

The report accused the National Security Service (NSS) of media censorship in regards to stories that exposed or touched senior government officials.

The report also added that the independent online media companies were subject to cyber-attacks and blockages by security agents.

“Its officers deploy to newsrooms to review content and cut stories deemed critical or inconvenient to the government, including coverage of political and human rights issues. Independent online media are routinely targeted by cyber-attacks and website blockages,” partly reads the report.

Comments are closed.