Media body petitions President Kiir over press freedom

Tuesday April 04 2017

The Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), an umbrella for all media houses have asked President Salva Kiir to help stop the harassment of journalists.

In a petition delivered to the office of the president Monday, the media lobby demanded the release of journalists in detention.

AMDISS secretary general Koang Pal said that the release would be in line with the president’s announcement on the national prayer day that political detainees would be freed to take part in the country's national dialogue.

“Our colleagues should be released; media is not exempted,” Mr Pal told journalists in Juba.

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He said that the reopening of media houses that have been closed down is also a top concern.

“We want the media houses reopened so that they can take part in this nation-building agenda," said Mr Pal. “If these media houses are opened and our colleagues in jail are released, they would be part of this process."

South Sudan's press freedom has been handicapped by the war since 2013.

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The young nation has lost more than 10 journalists some of whom have been killed in the line of duty. Many others have been forced into exile.

According to the lobby group Freedom House, conditions for the media in South Sudan have remained repressive amid a civil war between the government and rebel forces supporting ousted vice president Riek Machar.

"Due to widespread intimidation, media outlets regularly engage in self-censorship on sensitive topics, leaving the public with limited access to independent and accurate reporting," says Freedom House.