National, News

Activist accuses Jonglei gov’t of censorship

By Mamer Abraham


Chairperson of Jonglei Civil Society Network and the Executive Director of Intrepid South Sudan (ISS) Bol Deng Bol has slammed the government of Jonglei State for censoring the media.

Bol’s counter statement came after the Director-General of Jonglei State’s Ministry of Information Mhamad Chuol Peter issued a statement barring public announcements over the radio and road announcements without authorization from the state information ministry.

Bol termed it as censorship and an infringement of the right to access to information and freedom of expression.

“It is surprising to learn that Jonglei State’s Ministry of Information and Communication, in this circular, wants to control Announcements and Radio Talk Shows by directing all to obtain approval from the Ministry. This is a blatant CENSORSHIP to the Media Fraternity, undermining their freedom and Independence. It’s an infringement of the Constitutional Rights to access Information and Freedom of Expression,” he said in a statement seen by No.1 Citizen.

Bol showed a concern that the style of media regulation applied by the state’s Director-General will gag media houses and prevent them from exercising their duties.

“It is imperative, at this juncture to remind the Information Ministry that, regulating the Media CANNOT be achieved through censorship! Instead, this initiative is likely to be used to SUPPRESS VOICES of the Civil Society and Youth Activists including Political oppositions,” it continued.

“Jonglei Civil Society Network will, therefore, not encourage such control. Instead, we urge the Ministry to stop coercive engagements with the Media, NGOs, and the Public, and seek progressive initiatives to develop the Media in the State and to work closely with the Media Authority to regulate the Media.”

He called upon the state Ministry of Information to reconsider its order.

Jonglei state had been a hotspot of alleged censorship in recent years which led to the closing of key radio stations.

In March 2022, the state Director-general of information, Mamad Chuol Peter pledged to uphold press freedom upon his visit to Radio Jonglei to understand the condition of journalists.

He urged the media houses to cooperate with the information ministry for viable peace to be realized across the state.

“We want this state to be one of the best states in South Sudan that will be in peace and make sure anything in the state must be reported,” Chuol said.

“Press freedom is something that has been granted by the constitution but there must be cooperation between the Ministry of Information and the media houses in the state because without cooperation there will be nothing to be done and we will not go forward.”

But even after this, Radio Jonglei was shutdown on several occasions over alleged failure to comply with the state information ministry’s orders.



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