By Emmanuel Malual Makuach
In a press release issued on January 24th, 2024, the Press Unit in the office of the Governor of Jonglei State is calling on media users in Jonglei State and beyond to respect the national legislation of South Sudan media. The office has expressed concern over the unethical trends observed in the freedom of expression, which has led to defamation, hate speech, and the spread of false information. The office emphasizes that freedom of expression should be exercised responsibly and without interfering with the rights of others.
According to the South Sudan Code of Conduct and Ethics of Journalism Guide Act of 2013, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. However, this right is subject to limitations as determined by law to respect the rights of others.
The office of the Governor is urging citizens in Jonglei State and beyond to abide by the national legislation of South Sudan media and its limitations. Those who act beyond their freedom of expression will face consequences.
In response to the press release, Mr. Majur Chol Khor, a veteran journalist and South Sudanese multimedia award winner, criticized the Press Unit of the Jonglei State Government, calling it a reflection of failure.
Mr. Khor expressed disappointment in the press unit’s failure to address the issues plaguing Jonglei State adequately. He noted that while media practitioners and journalists are aware of the challenges faced by the state, the leadership has failed to take appropriate action. He accused the press unit of taking a political stance instead of fulfilling its role as an unbiased source of information.
“The press unit of Jonglei State government has played a significant role in the failure of both the Governor and the state government as a whole,” Mr. Khor stated.
“It is disheartening to witness how media practitioners and journalists are constantly aware of the issues plaguing Jonglei State, yet the leadership fails to address them adequately.”
Mr. Khor emphasized that the press unit should serve as a bridge between the government and the public, providing timely updates and addressing concerns. However, he argued that the press unit has become complacent and aligned with the political interests of the ruling regime, betraying the trust of the public.
“The press unit, which should be holding the government accountable, seems to have become complacent and aligned with the political interests of the ruling regime. This is a betrayal of the trust bestowed upon them by the public,” Mr. Khor stated.
“Instead of providing objective coverage and highlighting the failures of the state government, they have chosen to remain silent or even defend their actions.”
Mr. Khor called on the press unit to reevaluate its priorities and realign itself with the principles of journalism.
He urged the unit to become the voice of the people, holding the government accountable and demanding necessary changes for the betterment of Jonglei State.
The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the right of every citizen to seek and impart information without restrictions. However, there are certain limitations in place to protect individual reputations, state integrity, and national security.