By Staff Writer
South Sudan’s National Security Service officers stormed a press conference held by several media organisations in the country ordering it to stop midway.
Media patrons said the action was a misunderstanding of the meeting by the national security officers.
The joint media stakeholders’ press conference was to enlighten journalists on the calls for inclusion of the media in the permanent constitution making process.
“I believe there was a misunderstanding from the security apparatus because the way we look at it is that we are journalists who work with media houses and when we journalists are meeting in this case where we are consulting each other, it is our understanding that when we are meeting we do not have to get authority from the media authority to conduct the meeting,” Patrick Oyet Charles, President of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan, said in an interview.
For her part, Josephine Achiro, the Executive Director for COMNets who also doubles as AMDISS’ Secretary General said the security agents violated the right to freedom of expression and the press.
“This is a total violation of the press freedom and the freedom of expression because we are supposed to express our views freely, and then maybe they (security) wait for the outcome,” Achiro said.
“We want to be included in the constitution making process so that the constitution speaks for us. So that each and everything being done is in line with the constitution,” Achiro asserted.
The media stakeholders in South Sudan are calling on the political parties and all stakeholders in the country to consider inclusion of media practitioners in the permanent constitution making process.
The government launched a permanent constitution making process this year on May 25th so the country can finally have a permanent constitution.
Currently South Sudan uses a transitional constitution introduced in 2011.