Tuesday, November 15, 2011

South Sudanese authorities arrest two local journalists

Authorities in South Sudan have detained two journalists because of a recent article published in The Destiny Newspaper regarding the Country's president choosing to give his daughter's hand in marriage to an Ethiopian man.

The commentary by Dengdit Ayok, brought to light a general discontenment within the Southern Sudanese state regarding the President's choice and went on to outline how insulting to the country's people selecting a foreigner is. This is especially poignant after the county has only recently gained it's independence and is in a transitional period in which creating a strong national identity is of huge importance.

Senior government officials sent a letter to the paper clearly outlining their objection to the lack of professional ethics and, even after an apology was published, the national security service entered the offices on the 1st of November and arrested editor in chief, Ngor Garang.
Following the initial arrest, the paper has been indefinitley suspended and Ayok was also taken into NSS custody on the 12th of this month.

A number of organisations, including Amnesty International have called for both the men's release with reference to the fact that under the new transitional constitution, freedom of expression is a fundamental right. However although this is theoretically the case, the complete lack of legislature pertaining to media right's and freedoms has created an appropriate loophole for the detainment to take place, as it has done in nine other cases this year regarding members of the media.

Further to this, the new constitution also states that someone cannot be detained for over 24 hours without the support of the judiciary but again, the theory does not correlate with the ongoing practice implemented by the NSS.

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