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Media websites blocked; South Sudanese denied access to information

Two reporters at
Two reporters at "The Citizen" newspaper work at their desks in Juba, South Sudan, 18 June 2012

REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian

The Association for Media Development In South Sudan (AMDISS) is concerned by the blockage of some websites namely Sudan Tribune, Radio Tamazuj and others.

The blocking of these websites have denied many South Sudanese and other nationals who are residents in our country access to information - this tantamounts to a denial of basic human rights, including freedom of expression and press freedom which are guaranteed and enshrined in the National Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011.

AMDISS condemns in the strongest terms possible the blocking of these websites by the South Sudan government authorities and calls upon the authorities to rescind their decision.

The action of blocking these websites is an attack on freedom of expression and does not encourage the spirit of the national dialogue and cohesion which is of paramount importance in the search for national unity in our country at this critical moment.

The blocking of the websites comes after some recent incidents of attack and harassment of journalists in which a journalist working for South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) was brutally beaten while covering a football match between the South Sudanese national team and the Ugandan team on 14 July 2017. In another similar and regrettable incident, the Director of the same Broadcasting Corporation was arrested by the National Security Service on 11 July and released on 19 July, after more than a week in detention.

These actions by the State agencies and authorities are not only unconstitutional but a violation of basic human rights and the rule of law and an indication that the authorities are cracking down on media. AMDISS calls on the Government authorities and other state agencies to stop these attacks and the harassment of the media, individual journalists and other media professionals.

AMDISS is a member based organization of the local media in South Sudan, formed in 2003 to work towards creating an enabling environment for media development in South Sudan, through advocacy at different levels of government and dialogue with government ministries, departments, including security agencies and providing media training to enhance the quality of reporting and professionalism in the industry and sector.

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