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Security bars reporters from covering Pope envoy’s arrival at JIA

Security bars reporters from covering Pope envoy’s arrival at JIA
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State speaking at J1 in Juba after meeting President Salva Kiir on July 5, 2022 |Credit |Daniel Garang Deng/TRC

Security prevented media coverage and expelled journalists from the Juba International Airport during the arrival of Pope’s envoy his eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin for four-day visit to South Sudan on Monday, an eyewitness has said.

On Saturday, Cardinal-designate and Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Juba Archdiocese Dr. Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla said in a press conference that the Secretary of State who is the second highest leader at the Vatican was visiting the country for the second time to follow up progress on the implementation of peace agreement after pope’s visit in February.

In the morning of Monday, the media turned up at the airport for coverage on his arrival just to be chased away by the security.

“We were told that journalists are not invited to cover this visit and if we want to cover, we have to bring the letter for the National Security in order for them to allow us to cover the visit,” narrated peter, a freelance journalist.

According to journalists, the security told them that they were informed by the Vatican embassy not to allow journalists.

“They told us that they were instructed by charge’s de affairs to stop us because the media was not invited,” said Lino, another journalist who was at the airport.

Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Radio Network Chuol Jany, whose journalist was also blocked at the airport, said the church did not inform them that media coverage was not allowed.

“I really don’t know because even Father John (Bishops’ Conference Co-0rdinator) did not tell us that the media was not going to be allowed but I think it’s a big story that needs to be followed up,” Chuol stated.

When contacted, Father John Gbemboyo Mbikoyezu, Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference coordinator, said he was also green about the embassy arrangement to block media. The arrangement made the Father become the photographer of CRN.

“Even I did not know because our journalist tried to go there and he was also stopped.  So, it was information; I don’t know from the embassy or…,” John said.

“That’s what I learned as shows from the embassy. They said they wanted to make it just like that; not to involve the media, even one journalist from CRN (Catholic Radio Network) went there and he was sent back. I just took the picture and sent to him now,” he stated.

Vatican Embassy could not immediately be reached for commend on the inconveniences.

Cardinal Parolin will spend four days in South Sudan. During this time, will meet the top leadership of the country and will visit Malakal -One of the most conflict concentrated areas.

“He will be having a meeting with the president, the first vice president and the minister of foreign affairs in the afternoon today then tomorrow, he will travel to Malakal. In Malakal he will be there for two days then on Saturday morning, he will go to Rumbek then to Juba,” Fr. John narrated.