South Sudan journalists have described their relationship with the government as as catastrophic.
The Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) said journalists have had to contend with frequent death threats, arbitrary arrests, assaults, detention and killings under President Salva Kiir's administration.
AMDISS chairman Alfred Taban warned that the entire nation would suffer more if the gap between the Juba administration and journalists was not narrowed.
A critical role
He pointed out that journalists played a critical role in nurturing peace, which South Sudan desperately needed.
Mr Taban made the remarks at the end of the Media Consultative Dialogue in Juba on Wednesday.
He slammed the state agency, the Media Authority, for not addressing the welfare of the South Sudan journalists.
The agency was formed to improve the media environment through supervising the work of journalists in the young nation.
“The Media Authority is dysfunctional because since it was formed, three media houses have been shut down; at least three journalists have been brutally assaulted and left for dead at graveyards and many others have fled the country,” Mr Taban said.
South Sudanese journalists have constantly complained and accused the government of putting them behind bars for unknown reasons.
Human rights organisations such as the Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have all urged the South Sudan government to respect press freedom.
South Sudan has become the most dangerous place for journalists after Somalia in the region, according to CPJ.