NSS Detains 8 Journalists for Covering a Press Conference of SPLM-IO MPs
JUBA – At least eight journalists were briefly detained in Juba on Tuesday by members of the National Security Service (NSS) for showing up to cover a press conference organized by a number of lawmakers mainly from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition (SPLM-IO).
The journalists, along with a prominent activist, were invited by 19 opposition members of the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly to address a number of issues they wished to bring to the attention of the general public.
Those issues include the lack of political will among parties to the revitalized peace accord to push forward with peace implementation and what lawmakers have described as the “inhumane” conditions they have been living in in the capital Juba since. the formation of parliament last year.
President of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Patrick Oyet, said the journalists were detained for about four hours before being released following an intervention by himself and other members of the journalists’ union.
“For us as a journalist, whenever we are called to a press conference or an event, we go there because our job is basically to cover the news,” Oyet told Eye Radio, the one of the media houses in South Sudan whose journalist was among those detained.
“I started pleading that one of the ladies is supposed to be traveling out of the country and she’s going to miss her flight, and after a few minutes, indeed, the reporters were released. The reporters didn’t made mistakes,” added Oyet.
Ter Manyang Gatwech, the executive director of the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) was among the journalists arrested and confirmed that he and the journalists were detained by members of the National Security Service (NSS) for approximately four hours.
“When the journalists came in plus me, 8 journalists were arrested by national security and we stayed for about an hour in parliament, then we went to Bilpam road for more questions. For me, this is really a concern in the country and we also have the constitution which allows freedom of speech and evading space in the country is too important for us,” Gatwech said.
“Journalists were just doing their job because without a journalist in this country, I don’t think citizens can get the information,” he added.
In accordance with the Media Authority Act 2018, accredited journalists have the right to attend briefings, press conferences, press releases from government or public sector organizations and other events organized for the press, and to be included in official visits by state and government officials. .