South Sudan journalists continue to face acts of violence and intimidation that usually go unpunished. The shooting of Juba journalist Peter Julius Moi in August this year is the latest in a series of murders of media personnel that are not being solved. Mr. Moi was shot twice in the back by gunmen fours day after President Salva Kiir threatened to kill reporters “working against the country”. He is the seventh journalist to be killed this year in South Sudan, where a civil war is ongoing.
Further still a move, widely viewed as intended to clamp down on free media, the South Sudanese’s Government shut down two privately owned newspapers earlier this month as well as a media group that produced a popular radio series.
The South Sudan Government should with import consider that ensuring freedom for the media; is a priority around the world. Independent, free and pluralistic media are central to good governance in democracies that are young and old. Media freedom feeds the right to access to information which in turn feeds into the wider development objective of empowering people.
Therefore, the Africa Freedom of Information Centre urges the South Sudanese Government to carry out proper investigations and to bring those responsible for crimes of violence against journalists to justice.
The fact that crimes of violence against journalists are not punished reinforces a climate dominated by death threats and physical attacks. Consequently, ignoring these acts just encourages them to continue violating human rights and freedom of information.