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Parliament apologizes for confiscating journalists’ gadgets

Parliament apologizes for confiscating journalists’ gadgets

The first Deputy speaker of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly, Oyet Nathaniel Pierino has apologized for the confiscation of the journalists’ gadgets in the parliament budget disputes that occurred on Friday.

On Friday, two journalists belonging to Eye Radio and the City review were picked and pulled out from covering a parliamentary session on budget deliberation where the oppositions parliamentarian from the SPLM-IO led by the first deputy speaker Oyet and SSOA walked out of the room after failing to agree with SPLM-IG and its allies over salary increment.

“I have learned with dismay and shock the unfortunate harassment and intimidation of the members of the press and media who had turned up to cover the proceedings of the legislature in the third and final reading stage of the national budget on Friday, 11 August, 2023,” Oyet said in a statement on Saturday.

The journalists recorded the MPs commotion and protests of oppositions MPs leaving the other MPs of the SPLM-IG in the room. The security interrupted the coverage and picked two journalists briefly and later released them without their gadgets. After some hours, the gadgets were later returned to the journalists in the evening following the intervention from the union of journalists and the association for media development in South Sudan.

“On behalf of the Transitional National Legislature and on my own behalf, i would like to sincerely apologize to the members of the press and media for this unfortunate incidence and misconducts by some members of the security organs,” Oyet apologized.

Oyet said the act, violates the national bill of rights specially freedom of expression and media. as enshrined in article 24 (2) of the Transitional constitution of Republic of South Sudan 2011 (as amended).

He stated that granting right of access to information at level of government is fundamental for development parliamentary government and nurturing of a democratic society.

“The prevention of some journalists from covering the proceedings and the confiscation of the gadgets belonging to Eye Radio and The City Review journalists and their expulsion from the precinct of parliament while the August house was in the sitting is regrettable, unfortunate and unacceptable,” He underscored.