The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the arrest and detention of two journalists in South Sudan. The authorities claim the reporters were involved in protests in which at least ten people died last month in the north of the country, media reports say.
"We condemn these arrests and ask for the immediate release of the journalists. These repressive measures against media reflect the growing insecurity for journalists and follow our recent calls on authorities in South Sudan to promote press freedom and safeguard journalists' security," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director.
According to independent sources, Tv journalists Louis Pasquale and Ashab Khamis were arrested on 4 January 2013 and are still detained in prison without charges in the north western city of Wau, for their alleged role in protests that resulted in death of at least 10 people last December.
The IFJ voiced its concerns over the treatment of journalists in South Soudan where cases of violence are on the rise. On 5 December last year, Diing Chan Awuol, nicknamed Isaiah Abraham 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, the capital city. It was the first time a journalist has been killed in South Sudan since it gained independence from the north.
The Federation warned of the danger for South Soudan to allow intolerance of independent reporting to take hold as such a trend would adversely impact on the future of democracy and rule of law in the country.
"The promotion of press freedom and safety of journalists are in the best interests of the newly independent state of South Soudan," added Baglo. "The recent spike in violence targeting media does not bode well for democratic rule in the country."