National, News

Parliament cautions media against reporting ‘derogatory’ statements

By Philip Buda Ladu


A heated debate ensued at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) yesterday that witnessed the use of ‘derogatory language’ by a lawmaker against the symbol of the country while reacting to a report.

On Monday, MPs deliberated on the report of the South Sudan Delegation to the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) 148th Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, presented to the parliament for adoption, which sparked serious debate in the house.

This later prompted the assembly spokesperson to come out and caution the national media organizations from what he called recklessly reporting on the same.

Oliver Mori Benjamin, chairperson of the specialized committee of information at the TNLA and official spokesman of the assembly told reporters that discussions in the parliament are always numerous and adverse.

MPs who uttered words deemed derogatory against fellow members and the high authority of the government during the debate were asked to withdraw such statements and urged to apologize to the House, which they promptly did.

Assembly’s spokesperson noted that whenever MPs debate issues within the parliament as per the conduct of business, they are advised to be respectful and mindful of language use within the parliament.

“And the need to respect the symbol of this country being the president, the vice president, and the government of the Republic of South Sudan,” Mori explained.

“No member under any circumstance is allowed to defame in one way or another the leadership of the Republic of South Sudan,” he warned.

Caution to journalists

Mr. Mori then turned to the media, saying they should exercise positive and constructive reporting not to demean the image of the country and its authority.

“I am therefore cautioning you in that these statements of personally attacking the symbol of the country should not feature in your press, be it written or on the radios that we have in the country,” he told reporters on Monday.

“Our own press in the Republic of South Sudan must not be the forum to undermine the image and the symbol of the Republic of South Sudan; therefore, anybody who indulges himself or herself in that will bear the consequences responsibly,” the assembly spokesman echoed.

Mori hinted that he was alerting the media practitioners so that they wouldn’t claim later that they were ignorant of that fact.

“I am saying this so that you, as ladies and gentlemen of the press, should not later say, well, our spokesperson for the parliament, if there was something like that, and why didn’t you caution us from the beginning?” he expressed.

Mr. Mori finally said farewell to the group of journalists who covered parliament on Monday, saying he presumed they would abide by the directive.

“We expect that you will abide by what we have said in this press conference. Anyone who goes out of it will know the consequences, and I will not be part of it.

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