JUBA – South Sudan information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth has said that the country’s government accepts constructive criticisms, but has problem with what he calls ‘destructive criticism’ that doesn’t give solutions to problems being raised against the government.
Makuei, who was speaking in an interview with the Netherlands-based Radio Tamazuj, said some people he didn’t name always give destructive criticisms when speaking in radios against the government saying the government has problem with that kind of criticism.
“We don’t reject any constructive criticism, but our problem is destructive criticism which we don’t want. You find people discussing issues on the radio and are using destructive criticism. This is not good. You have a right to criticize the government or behaviors of individuals but not in a destructive way. If you criticize, you should come up with a solution [and] this is what is called constructive criticism,” Makuei responded when asked about his comments on some reports that are regarded by the government as not appropriate.
The senior government official hinted at claims by fellow government officials that the country has a free press saying some reports that criticize the government are allowed to air or publish only in the world’s youngest country, in comparison to other countries.
“There have been some reports about South Sudan that there is no freedom of speech or press freedom. This is not true. What is being reported in the newspapers nowadays can only be said in South Sudan. So those who are claiming that we don’t have freedom of speech or press freedom, what do they want?” he asked.
Makuei pointed at a recent interview published by the Al Maugif newspaper of former minister of higher education and ex-opposition member-turned writer, Adwok Nyaba, who said the government is tribal and should be ousted by the force of arms, saying such an interview shouldn’t have been published if South Sudan is not a country that respects press freedom.
“Have you read the interview with Dr. Adowk [Nyaba]? His interview was published, broadcasted on radios. Such an interview cannot be published in a country that doesn’t have freedom of speech,” he said.
“So there is no way that journalists complain that their articles have been removed or so. Unless the writer was directly attacking someone and agitating at the same time. Even the agitating articles are now free to publish,” Makuei further added.