The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today strongly condemned the killing of an online journalist in South Sudan. Diing Chan Awuol was shot dead on Wednesday in a suburb of the capital of South Sudan, Juba.
"We denounce the murder of journalist Diing Chan Awuol. This murder sends a bad sign that the South Sudan Government is not ready to protect the Safety of Journalists, and the democratic values such as freedom of the press and expression. We call on the South Sudan Government to take immediate and appropriate measures in safeguarding a peaceful environment for advocates and defenders of the freedoms of the press, expression and information," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director.
Credible information sources from South Sudan confirmed the killing, saying that Diing Chan Awuol, nicknamed Isaiah Abraham and a columnist and blogger writing for the Paris based Sudan Tribune, Gurtong and Sudanese Online, was murdered in cold blood outside his home in the suburb of Gudek in Juba on the morning of Wednesday 5 December. Sources quoted local witnesses as saying that the victim was shot in the face after being lured to come outside his house by unknown gun men.
Family members also said that he had received threats by the phone and an ultimatum saying that "he was either to stop writing or face the consequences of not complying with the demand".
The IFJ warns against entrenchment of the culture of impunity in South Sudan if this crime is not solved quickly. The country is among the five nations, along with Iraq, Mexico, Nepal and Pakistan, where the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists will start. This killing comes at a time where press freedom advocacy groups are reporting of worrying trends regarding media freedom in South Sudan after months of social and political unrest in the country following the government's decision to suspend oil production after disagreements over pipeline fees with the Sudanese government in north.
"There is a need for immediate and remedial action in order to create deterrence for violence against journalists in South Soudan," added Baglo. "Failure to act will only make journalists easy targets and put the blame for future attacks squarely on the government's door."
For more information, please contact IFJ: +221 33 867 95 86
The IFJ represents over 600.000 journalists in 134 countries