The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has condemned
the arrest and detention in very inhumane conditions of journalist Alfred Taban
in South Sudan.
According to the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Alfred
Taban, a veteran journalist and chief editor of the Juba Monitor, was arrested and detained for hours
on Sunday, March 3, 2013, after the publication of an opinion story written by a
citizen from Rumbek, the capital of Lakes State, one of the ten states of South
The opinion article questioned the integrity of the former governor
of Lakes State, Mr. Chuol Tong Mayay, concerning the accountability of public
funds which were not definitely used to implement a project. The writer of the
opinion piece raised concerns on how the money was spent. The former governor reportedly went to the
police station and opened a case against the newspaper. Taban was subsequently
arrested and locked up in a small cell for hours without anything to sit on,
food or water to drink.
“We condemn the arrest and detention of Taban as a criminal. Citizens
must be allowed to express their views in the public interest as this is what
guarantees good governance, accountability and probity. This expression cannot
be criminalised. We call on authorities in South Sudan to stop with immediate
effect, the intimidation of journalists and endeavour to promote freedom of
expression and of the press”, said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
Over the last two months UJOSS has documented more than 10 cases of
arrests and detentions due to the absence of media laws in South Sudan. Last
December, Diing Chan Awuol, journalist, columnist and blogger, was murdered in
cold blood outside his home in the suburb of Gudek in Juba, the capital city.
“We urge parliamentarians to pass the laws to protect journalists,
media actors and the public. The delay of passing the media laws is a challenge
for the administration of justice for journalists, media houses and the public
in South Sudan,” said Oliver Modi Philip Chairperson of the Union of Journalists
of South Sudan.
For more information,
please contact IFJ on +221- 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents
more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries