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Will South Sudanese Journalists be safe from Media bill signed in Juba?

By Peter Gai Manyuon

September 14, 2014 (SSNA) -- What will help professional Journalists in the Media bill that was signed on the 9th of September 2014 in Juba? Will government of South Sudan leave hunting for Journalists?  Something that need observation properly!

After reading the news about Media Bill signing on Tuesday 9th of September 2014 in Juba Capital, I smiled a bit. And one of the reasons why I smiled was what was taking place since the Independence up to the time crisis culminated in the Republic of South Sudan on December 15th 2014.

Moreover, South Sudanese Journalists have been yarning for the Media bill to be pass in the Parliament since the genesis of Southern Sudan government and subsequently Republic of South Sudan  government but nothing materialize due to the fact that John Luk Jock who was the former Minister of Justice become the problem to Journalists and activists by then up to the time of current regime where Hon Makuei Lueth became the Minister of Information and Broadcasting in South Sudan , which  I contextualized his coming took the whole country to mess due to his propagandists and lack of good public Relations and strategic mass communication.

In number of occasions comrade Makuei Lueth the Minister of Information and Broadcasting , Ateny Wek the Presidential spokesperson , Philip Aguer the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) Spokesperson, Malak Ayuen the Director of Information and Public Relations within the Army and so on, have been talking nonsensical talks here and there about Journalists reporting of analyzing issues in the Country.  The question is, will those different spokespersons respect Journalists rights or will still interrogates? Something that need to be look at properly by the world and different stakeholders in the newest Nation!

Hence, South Sudanese Journalists have been subjected to killings like the elimination of the Political commentator Isaiah Abraham who was killed by security agents in his resident at Gudele in Juba in 2012 December as well torturing one of Journalist Dengdit Ayok who was almost to be kill in Cairo by the group of agents instructed by Juba culprits.  Realistically, where is Media freedom and expression here?

Basically, Journalists have been facing a lot of intimidations, interrogations, from Hon Makuei Lueth , Philip Aguer and the former Civil society Activist called Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny who was appointed with a decree  last year which I believe shocked the world and the newest nation audiences.

Many people says, there is no press secretaries that can be appointed using a decree accept in the Republic of South Sudan where leadership is becoming a joke and eating. Something very disgraceful indeed!

After going through the sound bites of Ateny Wek Ateny  Ateny where he  told reporters on Tuesday that Kiir had approved the bills, which were signed into laws at 11am (local time), citing the president’s “tight schedule” as the reason for his failure to meet with journalists.

That very bite indicates lack of interest from Presidency on the signing of the Media bill in to Law.

“I know there has been some inconvenience because this (signing) should have happened in September last year, days after the parliament passed it,” he added.

However, in the global world where Media act as the watchdog, the media laws pertain to access to information, media authority and broadcasting and cooperation law.

The bills provide measures for the creation of a national, independent public service provider and the establishment of an independent body to oversee content and deal with complaints, as well protecting the right of every citizen, including journalists, to access official information.

Ideally, World must know that President Kiir Mayardit and his regime have failed totally to protect Journalists, activists and Lawyers rights. Therefore, it is recommendable for the International Community and globe to monitor human rights violation carry on by the government of South Sudan in Juba. Truly speaking Journalists are still hiding from time to time due to the fact that, no Law that protect the practicing Journalists.

I really doubt about the bill signed in to Law, it might be a confusing document that is temporary put in place meanwhile National Security will continue eliminating Journalists and human rights defenders like Lawyers respectively.

One of the Recommendable ideas is for the Professional Journalists to stills continue addressing Legal issues and Human rights monitoring and evaluation in South Sudan no matter what might be the case in the face of dictatorial regime in Juba. It is the role of Journalists to talk on behaves of the voiceless masses that don’t know their rights and aspirations.

The author is an Independent Veteran Journalist who has written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan.  He is now reachable on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com.

The new media Law: what does it mean for Journalists, writers and ordinary citizens of South Sudan?

By Gai James Kai

September 11, 2014 (SSNA) -- On Tuesday, 9th September 2014, the incompetence President of the would be Federal South Sudan signed into law what most South Sudanese refers as “long awaited” media law that the “serving Dogs” in the house (National Legislative Assembly) has voted unanimously to create what are intended to be the strongest media freedom laws In the history of South Sudan and the nation intends these measures to have national impact, by creating a safe haven for journalist and writers countrywide – and their servers.

The signed bill, also known as the South Sudan Modern Media Initiative- MMI, require changes to South Sudan`s media law to strengthen journalists and writers source protection, freedom of speech and expression and government transparency.

The disparate ruling party (SPLM-Juba) members of parliament voted for it, and the illegitimate President, and his other disciples present; says South Sudan`s National Legislative Assembly – NLA speaker AKA Magok Rundial, who has been the proposal`s chief sponsor claimed that South Sudanese are serious about this law yet he doesn’t means at all! The country is in the mood for openness after some serving dogs like Makuei Lueth saddled it with crippling threats to Journalists, writers and the entire media outlets of the new born nation (South Sudan), and the proposal bill ties nearly into the country`s strategy to prime servers` profession.

But although the National Legislative Assembly- NLA package sounds very encouraging from the a freedom of expression point of view, it`s not clear what the practical benefits will be to South Sudanese Journalists and writers. In my own analysis of the signed bill, I, Gai James Kai; as being a practicing lawyer and an activist have so far noted that, in one major test case of cross-border online libel law, this bill was deemed to occur at the point download – meaning that serving a controversial page from South Sudan won`t keep you journalists and writers from getting unlawful sued in the hands of the current reign of terror (SPLM_ Juba); unless otherwise. But if nothing else, it would probably prevent the government news outlets from being forcibly shut down; after all they serves the interest of government through spreading lies and propaganda.

There might be other benefits too. The whisperer so-called Magok Rundial says that it routes all submissions through South Sudan government (the disparate SPLM- Juba), where investigation into the identity of an anonymous government`s critics. He (Magok) was heavily involved in the drafting and promoting the new media law which they (SPLM-Juba) never dream of, and whatever opinion of their current controversies, they have proven remarkably immune to legal prosecution in their short history. Conceivably, other journalism organizations could gain some measure of legal protection for anonymous sources if all communication were routed through South Sudanese`s dreams.

All of which is to say that issues of press censorship have long since passed the point of nationalization when an aggrieved party (SPLM-Juba) can sue a publisher through Kangaroo court, press freedom must be understood – and fought for – at an national level. It has not only been an impact here in Juba, but in changing the dialog in South Sudan as whole.

But it will be some time before the full repercussion of South Sudan`s moves are felt. For a start, the new media law is not yet placed into practices. Some South Sudanese lawyers who drafted the bill and expects to have helped the “volunteer Mps” did so to climb the ladder of opportunity, not actually for the welfare of South Sudanese. The complex legislative change has been passed, but will it really impacted us the writers in the new nation? It should have been done since 2011!

And then it will be further years before we understand, from case law, exactly what an “offshore freedom of expression haven” means to journalists and writers countrywide. Nonetheless, I hope to get a discussion started amongst the high-powered media law and we will see if we can get a more precise understanding of the practical consequences of the new media law and how journalists and writers might use it to protect their work.

Gai James Kai is an independent analyst; who has written numerous articles on democracy, politics, human`s rights, Law and order and a Law student at Nkumba University – Kampala. He can be reached through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or search for him on Facebook using the above names.

Safety Is Not Just Subjective

By Papa Maury Clark

September 10, 2014 (SSNA) --Rarely has the obvious been as unrecognizable to me as it was until called to my attention in the article Safety Inside Church Doors by pastor Tom Ehrich in the digital edition of The Lutheran. And I should have known better. He made me realize that “Safety” is not just a matter of an individuals subjective feelings, but that safety, or the lack of it, is often institutionally embedded in congregational governance and membership. Sure, there may be a greeter at the door, and someone may see you for the first time, and ask you to sign the guest book. But it mostly ends there.

You see, my current family is all Black, all African, and mostly Dinka, except for our new guy, Ayalew, who is Amhar from Ethiopia. I am often referred to as the “Old, bald, white Dinka” by all nations of the South Sudanese. Our home rings with the rhythms and the spices of Sub-Saharan Africa. My boys many friends of all races are welcome and comfortable at our home. We often have a crowd at dinner and overnight on weekends. I have to take inventory.

Whenever I attend a Christian service of their native denomination here in the Seattle area I am always comfortable. Yet my boys, with only one exception, will not attend my home ELCA congregation. So Pastor Ehrich has caused me to ask myself “WHY”.

I think that the answer is in one word- “OUTREACH”.

When I celebrate with a black congregation, whether with my boys or by myself, something happens that is vastly different than my experiences in many visits to so-labeled “White” congregations. I am welcomed. Not just greeted, they reach out and I am really WELCOMED!

I am met at the door. Hands extend themselves. I am hauled from person to place, to ever joyful introductions. I am often introduced from the pulpit, and stuffed with food after the service, even if they have never before seen me. The only time a question ever arises is when a child (normally around three years old) who has never seen a white guy at the services will shyly ask “Why are you here, mister?”. I love it.

They reach out to me. And they see my presence as outreach to them.

Institutionalized comfort. Institutionalized safety.

Food for thought?

Maury Clark is a retired investment banker/broker, as well as a Called and Commissioned Deacon in the ELCA, Northwest Washington Synod. He served under Bishops appointment as pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Maple Valley, Washington in 1990 and 1991, and also served six years on the Synod Council. He has been deeply involved with the people of South Sudan since 1996, and was an advisor to the Government of South Sudan. He is also the adoptive father of seven Dinka, the youngest of whom is fourteen years old. He is currently involved with the Lutheran Disaster Response team and Global Health Ministries on the EBOLA crisis in Liberia. Maury and his family reside in Hobart, Washington, United States.

 

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