JUBA – The U.S Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires in Juba, Ambassador Larry André Jr is calling on the government of South Sudan to end the harassment, intimidation, and detainment of journalists and protect them.
According to Reporters Without Borders report of 2021, journalists have faced harassment, arbitrary detention, torture, and even death in instances where they did not practice self-censorship.
Also, the U.S. government’s most recent Human Rights Report notes, security forces commonly intimidate, harass, beat up, detain, and imprison journalists; confiscate equipment; and restrict journalists’ movements.
“We call on the South Sudanese government to do everything in its power to ensure that journalists feel protected and supported in their crucial mission of getting accurate information to the people,” Andre’ said in a statement to mark the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Juba.
He said if journalists are protected it will improve transparency, and citizens may have access to reliable information that will help them to make informed decision,
“When journalists are harassed and threatened, they naturally become intimidated and afraid to report certain information. They end up practicing self-censorship. Democracy suffers as a result, as citizens lack access to trustworthy information,” he said.
He advised the Journalists to always ensure that their reporting is fair, ethical, and factual.
“Just as the government has responsibilities related to freedom of information, journalists have important responsibilities related to ethics and accurate information,” he disclosed.
Last month Reporters Without Borders released the 2021 World Press Freedom Index. South Sudan dropped one spot to a ranking of 139 out of 180 countries.