JUBA – South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) this afternoon briefly detained at least nine journalists – including a Sudans Post reporter – for covering a press conference organized by members of SPLM-IO parliament.
The SPLM-IO had called for a press conference to protest what it calls controversial manipulation of the Political Parties Act amendment Bill.
Other journalists detained include journalists for Voice of America, The City Review newspaper, The Dawn Newspaper, Sawa Sawa Network, Eye Radio, Top FM, No. 1 Citizen Newspaper, and Radio Miraya.
“We have been released from detention by the security at Freedom Hall after two hours of detention,” Sudans Post journalist said after their release by members of the national security service.
He said the security personnel deleted all recorded audios and photos of the event from their gadgets.
“They detained us for covering a press briefing of the Deputy Speaker of the parliament who spoke on behalf of the SPLM-IO when we’re not officially invited by the leadership of the parliament,” he said.
“Upon getting hold of us, they first collected all our ID cards, forced us to switch off our phones, and ordered our bags to be distanced from us,” he added.
The journalist who we cannot name for security reasons said they refused “to be whisked out of the parliamentary premises.”
Another reporter said the security officers threatened to deal with some of them who have continuous covering parliamentary sitting.
The latest incident comes barely a month after US Embassy in South Sudan called on the government to allow the media to operate freely.
In February, eight journalists were arrested on the premises of the national parliament.
This occurred while the journalists were covering a press conference organized by some opposition MPs.