National, News

Parliament commits to ensure media safety during elections

By Bida Elly David


National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has promised to ensure safety and security of journalists when gathering public opinions about the forthcoming elections.

Journalists in the country have been facing security threats in their quest to obtain information from the public.

Spokesperson for the National Parliament, John Agany said in a press briefing that the parliament had already warned security agencies against any threats to journalists.

“There is no any government that is going for election and prevents people not to talk. I never saw a government like that,” he stated.

Agany emphasized that it is only through the media that the public can be educated about the elections and have their voices heard.

He also stressed that the law clearly permits freedom of speech to every citizen, particularly the media, as a body to disseminate information to the public.

Agany further mentioned that lawmakers in the parliament had cautioned some security agents against random arrests of journalists without clear justification.

“If you have an occasion whereby you are harassed by the security element or so, our office is always open. You come to us, tell us who are they? We will deal with them,” he said.

He urged journalists to report any security threat to the leadership of the national parliament in case they face any problem while in the field.

Agany stated that the parliament is there to serve the people and will take action against any security personnel who harass journalists.

Moreover, Agany called on the media to be smart in their coverage, ensuring that all necessary equipment is available for their protection.

He also talked about the importance of respecting the social ethics of journalism and warned against provocative questioning, which could lead to insecurity and harm to journalists.

“Since the parliament is ready to stand for you, you also need to be very smart when we are seeking information especially those of you trained in the field of journalism,” he added.

However, he warned against spreading false information or taking sides, which could lead to conflict.

“The parliament will not defend the media when there is a mess. There is nowhere that our door has been closed for you not to come in. Make sure to inform us on the areas where you are restricted for us to go,” he said.

“You will not move alone. We will move with you. Anytime that you will have an incident, we will be there to answer. So please, there is no fear in this country.”

On Tuesday, the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) has urged media houses to be trustworthy and exercise the utmost professionalism, especially at this critical time of the election era.

AMDISS Executive Director, Irene Ayaa, said media houses need to be able to give people the kind of factual information that citizens need.

Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director for Community Empowerment and Progress Organization, recently advocated for freedom of speech for all citizens amid the elections.

Yakani said that it was the mandate of the National Parliament to push for freedom since they are representatives of the people.


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