Eight Journalists and one Activist are released without charges after being detained by the National Security during a news conference lawmakers organized at the National Legislative Assembly.
One of the journalists who declined to be named said security questioned the legality of the press conference, saying they didn’t follow the proper procedures.
Another reporter also narrated that they were put in the minibus and driven to a national security facility around the Munuki area at 11 am where the security questioned them.
The journalist said they are told to provide permission or an invitation letter for coverage at the parliament which they do not avail until the Union of journalists intervened.
Patrice Oyet, President of the South Sudan Union of Journalists, welcomed their released and warned that the detention of the media workers is against press freedom.
He urges the authorities to allow journalists to do their job at this crucial time where parliament debates about the budget and permanent constitution.
“We are asking the authority to provide free space for the media to do their work because it’s through the work of media for the population to know the current implementation of the peace agreement.”
One of the activists detained with journalists says he was in the parliament to listen to the press briefing concerning the national budget.
Ter Manyang is an Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Advocacy. He says the security refused to arrested the MPs saying they have humanity and resorted to Journalists.
He stated that the harassment of journalists and intimidating civil society will not help the country progress into a democratic state.
“For the county to move into peace transition, there should be freedom of expression. Without journalists, the ordinary citizens cannot get the information,” Manyang said.
The Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council’s members representing the Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) who briefed the press this morning raised concerns on slow implementation of the peace agreement.
Hon. John Agany, Chairperson of Information Committee in the TNLA, says he was not informed that some MPs were briefing the media on Tuesday and described the event as “illegal.”
“The MPs, in any way, have no right to call for a press conference. First, there must be a sitting, and anything you conducted outside sitting must be considered unlawful.”
South Sudan marked two years since the Unity government was formed on 22 February 2020.