AMDISS calls for immediate release of detained female journalist

The Association for Media Development in South Sudan, AMDISS, has called for the immediate release of a female journalist being detained in Juba by the authorities.

Diing Magot, a South Sudanese freelance journalist working for the Voice of America was arrested on Sunday by the police after covering a peaceful protest by some youths in Konyo-konyo market.

The small group of young people took to the streets to protest against unemployment, the skyrocketing commodity prices and cost of living in the country.

They carried manila paper placards with demands written on them – such as; “We cannot afford bread now! “Save our lives from hyperinflation.”

Under the instructions of the Juba City Council, security forces roundup the protestors, including Diing Magot.

“Journalist Magot did not commit any crime. She was only doing her job as a journalist fulfilling her duty given to her by Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011,” AMDISS said in a statement.

The media development body said Diing Magot was arrested near Nyakuron Cultural Center (5 kilometers away from Konyo-konyo) while returning from covering the protest.

Records show that the journalist was first detained at Buluk police station where she spent a night, then taken to Malakia Police station where she was then transferred to Juba Town main Prison where she is currently being detained.

“It is not clear why government authorities continue to detain the journalist,” AMDISS stated.

According to the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), authorities said Diing was unable to identify herself using her work ID during the time of the arrest.

UJOSS said it provided the authorities with Diing’s work ID, including her membership card to the body.

She, however, remains in custody without clear charges.

On Tuesday, the Mayor of Juba City Council, Michael Ladu Allah Jabu said all those arrested are still being interrogated.

“The arrested suspects are kept under preliminary investigation in the concerned police station to know the facts about their motives. They are safe and secured,” he told the press in his office in Juba.

In a statement on Friday, AMDISS described the continued detention of Diing Magot as a violation of her rights and media laws.

“It has serious repurcussion on press freedom and the safety of journalists, especially female journalists as this could force journalists into self-censorship to avoid being arrested and detained.”

On Tuesday, the United States Embassy in Juba also issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the journalists.

Several journalists have embarked on “Free Diing” online campaign to demand the authorities to release the colleague.

The Bill of Rights states that every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press.