By Richard Sultan
Western Bahr el Ghazal has directed all State officials from desisting from speaking to journalists, in direct contrast to freedom of speech as enshrined in the constitution of South Sudan.
“You are hereby requested not to record or broadcast any media statements from all constitutional post holders and relevant authorities in the state except from H. E. the governor or the deputy governor who are the only reliable source,” a statement issued by the executive director in the office of the Deputy Governor, Alexander Upiou Angelo said.
“We therefore urge your authorities to cooperate and adhere to these directives without failure.”
The directive “is an absolute denial of public access to information, worse still, this is a government that came to power as a result of a peace agreement, thus the need to keep the public informed on the progress of the implementation,” Patrick Oyet, the president of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan told Juba Echo in an interview.
“This is a violation of article 24 of the transitional constitution of South Sudan 2011 which talks of freedom of expression,” he said.
“State governments even have ministers for information, how can they now be restricted from communicating to the public? Service ministries like health also have their own heads who are supposed to talk to the public.”