By Joseph Oduha
Dear Governor Mr. Tobiolo Oromo,
OPINION – I am writing to you about the concern matter mentioned above. Your Excellency, it’s with profound regret to learn that Torit State authorities led by you have arrested one of the young professional journalist Mr. Ijo Bosco for unknown reasons.
He was arrested on 10th January after airing a story about U.S sanctions on South Sudan 1st Vice President Taban Deng Gai, local media reported. Torit State Information Minister Margaret Idwa confirmed the incident to the local press in Juba and accused Mr. Bosco of “insubordination.”
Mr. Governor, you’re very well aware that South Sudan is at a critical time of peace building processes in which the press plays pivotal role. It must be noted that the arrest of Mr. Bosco is reflective of a hostile atmosphere toward journalists in South Sudan.
We all know that press freedom is the foundation of the rights of all South Sudanese people to the truth but what your government did Mr. Governor, is completely an insane and insult to the people of South Sudan and particularly the people of Torit State who still have the fresh memories of the atrocities committed in Magwi County and some parts of the state by armed factions.
With current peace process, it would be paramount for your government including the central government and governments in all other states in the country, to develop plans and visions aim to prepare convenient media environments.
It’s very unfortunate that South Sudan governments at all levels remain the threat and unpredictable, irrational and ruthless to their own citizens.
It is also unfortunate that Torit State which is the historical town of liberation has turned the second ghost town after Juba in South Sudan that is preventing journalists to do their work freely.
Of all the 12 journalists killed in line of duty in South Sudan, one journalist by name Mr. Clement Lochio was killed in Eastern Equatoria in August 2015 by government security agents during Louse Lobong Lojore era. Torit by then was the capital city of Eastern Equatoria.
Mr. Lochio was arrested on 6 August in Chukudum of Budi County by security agents and subsequently killed and until now, his killers have not been apprehended.
Therefore, the action by your government arresting journalist Mr. Bosco is simply reflecting the same impunity that claimed the life of a brilliant journalist and great son of Eastern Equatoria Mr. Clement Lochio.
You’re Excellency, you should be reminded that media is a tool of conflict transformation and a platform to promote inclusivity in the society. Peacebuilding processes now increasingly include media-related practices and approaches to enhance their impact in the society. For this matter, your government should respects press freedom and freedom of expression in the state.
These freedoms are guaranteed in article 24 of South Sudan Transitional Constitution which I believed all states constitutions’ derived their principles from. We also have Media Law responsible for journalists’ cases countrywide.
We are all aware, that all the governors appointed by President Salva Kiir are indoctrinated to robbed citizens of their ultimate freedom of speech as well as the press freedom.
Mr. President Kiir himself in several occasions accused reporters including some foreign envoys of being “spies.”
Mr. Governor, the country is descending into new era where democracy will be the ultimate way to leadership. It’s time you need to abort President Kiir old teaching of hate, division, killing, and all sort of violence to advance his ethno-centric politics.
Kiir will leave leadership one day, but the people of Torit State will remain forever in their land. So, treat people with ultimate respect, love, and create an atmosphere conducive for freedom of expression and of the press.
While the news of the released of Journalist Mr. Bosco is a welcome one, but such incident should not repeat itself again.
The author Mr. Joseph Oduha is a South Sudanese journalist and can be reach by email@example.com
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