JUBA – South Sudan’s award-winning civil society leader Edmund Yakani on Thursday warned the government against use of the recently-established cybercrime public attorney prosecution and court to suppress and censor the media, but described the move as “a positive development.”
The ministry of justice and constitutional affairs on Monday announced during a press conference that it has launched a public attorney prosecution and court for cybercrimes which are believed to be rampant in the world’s youngest country.
“The issue of information technology has become an issue of concern to all of us, especially within the last ten years. Many of us have experienced many crimes committed by either a device or misuse of a computer,” Gabriel Isaac Awow, Acting Undersecretary in the ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
“So, the ministry of Justice as an institution mandated to enact laws has done a very comprehensive comparative study on how we can be positioned to enact a law to govern the issue of information technology,” Isaac added.
Speaking to Sudans Post in an interview, Yakani who is the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) welcomed the formation of the court, but warned against its use to suppress and censor the media.
“This is a positive development in handling cybercrime in a legal manner in South Sudan. Secondly it offers chance for internet users to distance themselves from cybercrime such as the recent Facebook page in which CEPO was described by one of users as a ‘terrorist’ organization,” Yakani said.
“But this cybercrime court should not be used by the authorities to censor internet or online rights or be used for delivering political gains of some individuals or group of individuals. It should totally be a legal professional court that should observe application of rule of law and due legal process with any form of legal discrimination or abuse of the law and rights,” Yakani stressed.
Yakani further appealed directly to the ministry of justice “to ensure that the court is independent from any political interference or favors.”