Wau To Host Press Freedom Day On Friday

South Sudanese media crew covering a rally in Torit on 25, April 2013. South Sudan is a country with no media law, making it difficult for reporters to get information from key sources. [Gurtong | File]

The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Chairperson Mr. Oliver Modi has announced that the celebrations will be marked on Friday, May 3 in Wau.

“The media union in the Republic of South Sudan has chosen Western Bahr el Ghazal Wau this year as a venue to celebrate its anniversary so that the security in Wau which has recently cracked down on the media last year should understand that the media is important in the world,” Modi said.

The celebration will also be marked in Juba as the journalists could not be moved to Wau due to financial difficulties.

“After the celebration, the media will conduct a dialogue meeting the state security officials in Wau,” he said.

The journalist’s union secretary will also attend the World Press Freedom Day in Washington DC in a response to UNESCO invitation to the journalists of South Sudan to take part in the event.

In January, four officials; Director of Radio and TV Mr. Louis Pasquale Aleu, Director of Radio Mr Alor Deng Koor, Chief News Editor Mr. Kamilio Luciano Jarban and Photographer Michael Lourance were arrested and released on after the two stations failed to broadcast the speech by President Salva Kiir when he was addressing a public rally in Wau.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based media watchdog, named the detained pair as Louis Pasquale, director-general of the state broadcaster in Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Ashab Khamis, director of state television.

The committee said the two had been arrested probably as part of a campaign to stop the media from investigating the unrest in Wau. Soldiers shot dead 10 people protesting against the relocation of a local council triggering more violence in the town.

South Sudan is a country with no media law, making it difficult for reporters to get information from key sources.

Although journalism persists to be a risky job, analysts have noted that the media sector in the Country of South Sudan has been building up rapidly ever since the birth of the new nation in July 2011.

In December 2012, unknown gunmen shot dead prominent blogger and government critic Diing Chan Awuol at his home in Juba.

The killing highlighted the deteriorating media climate in a young country barely two years old.

Having split in 2011 from Sudan – ranked 170th in the press freedom index – South Sudan ranked 111th out of 179 states last year.

But the media organisation Reporters Without Borders warns that its ranking is expected to slip in 2013.

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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