Jonglei State, News

UJOSS condemns breach of media freedom

By Mamer Abraham


Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) in Jonglei State has slammed the state Ministry of Information and Communication over its directive on the use of one language in radio broadcasts.

The union stated in a statement seen by No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that the order was a breach of freedom of speech and expression that are enshrined in national and international laws to mirror a democratic society.

“The order issued by the Ministry of Information in Jonglei State contradicts these basic principles and is unlawful and against the law,” UJOSS echoed.

“It not only infringes upon the rights of local radio stations but also violates the rights of citizens to access diverse and independent sources of information,” it further explained.

It argued that the order gave the state government total power to control which voices go on air and which voices are filtered out, therefore overlooking the independence of the media.

UJOSS called on the Jonglei state information ministry to revoke its order and embark on constructive dialogue with media houses and journalists in a bid to uplift transparency, pluralism, and open dialogue.

“Allowing local radio stations to operate independently without seeking approval from the ministry is vital for promoting transparency, pluralism, and open dialogue,” it continued.

“We also urge the government to engage in a constructive dialogue with media organizations, journalists, and other stakeholders to develop regulations that enable a free and responsible media environment,” UJOSS urged.

Last week, the director-general of the Jonglei State Ministry of Information and Communication, Mhamad Chuol, warned radio stations and microphone announcers to avoid using one language to pass messages.

The DG argued that the use of a single language when the state is inhabited by various tribes (Dinka, Nuer, and Anuak) meant denial of access to information to the public, stressing that members of the public had been complaining to the ministry over the matter.

“Based on the above-cited complaint, we in the ministry, the Media Regulator in the state, would like to categorically make it clear that such actions are against the rights of our people to have equal access to information,” read the directive.

The DG directed all the microphone announcers and local radio stations to ask for permission first before disseminating any information.

“Therefore, the directive serves to inform the local radio stations and microphone announcers to firstly seek ministry approval or guidance before rushing to announce any information or program meant for public consumption,” he continued.

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