National, News

Journalists protest harassment at parliament

By staff writer


Journalists covering the parliament’s session on Wednesday walked out in protest against intimidation by security agents.

The incident occurred while lawmakers were discussing the highly controversial National Security Act 2014, Amendment Bill.

The incident began when plainclothes security personnel prevented journalists from recording with their phones or taking photos or videos.

However, the security personnel themselves were taking photos and shooting videos with their own smartphones.

This upset the journalists, who had been instructed to sit and observe the proceedings. In response to not being allowed to perform their core duties and responsibilities, the journalists walked out of the parliament.

“The work of the journalists is to sit, take note and later interact with Oliver to give you the decision of parliament,” one security agent told the journalists.

“If you don’t have a picture for the parliament by now you are not a professional journalist. The picture of the parliament remains the same.”

Lawmakers were divided on the bill: some wanted it passed without amendments, while others opposed its passage. This caused chaos.

Reacting to the matter after the sitting, the spokesperson of the National Legislative Assembly, Oliver Mori said he was not aware of what happened because he listened attentively in the sitting.

“So, I haven’t witnessed any person whether he belongs to an organized forces or to Security or whatsoever – I haven’t witnessed such harassment if you would like it to be termed,” he said.

“However, if such action had happened from certain individuals, we will be referred to look into it when we get an official complaint from those who feel aggrieved by any activity which is not normal in the daily covering of the siting of the parliament,” he added.

Mori insisted that they should be served with a letter for record and documentation purposes at their level as the committee.

In January 2021, journalists walked out on the former Acting Secretary General of SPLM Jemma Nunu Kumba after a misunderstanding emerged during a press conference.

The secretariat urged them to assemble at the National Secretariat Office in Juba for a press briefing at 9.30 am, but the officials did not elaborate on the theme of the briefing.

The officials showed up an hour later, only to order the journalists to go and sit at the back and vacate the area reserved for the press. On questioning the decision, the organizers told the press that, that was the arrangement format for the event.

In most cases, journalists always feel harassed and mistreated in various press conferences.



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