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JUBA - 3 Nov 2021

UJOSS, CEPO call for an end to impunity for crimes against journalists

As South Sudan marked this year’s ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ on 2 November, the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) and the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) urge all stakeholders, including security personnel, to end impunity for crimes committed against journalists in the country.

"We are calling on the government at all levels, national, state, local, communities because we have also discovered that some communities even arrest journalists. Whenever such things happen, they should be investigated and those who committed crimes should be brought to book. A lot of crimes and offenses are being committed against the journalists and the cases are never investigated," UJOSS President Patrick Oyet said.

Oyet adds, "The message is that when any crime is committed against journalists, those crimes should be investigated and those suspected of committing the crime to be taken to court and if guilty be punished accordingly." 

UJOSS and CEPO say they are concerned about the persistent increase in assaults, threats, intimidations, arrests, and detentions of journalists as well as closure of media houses.

The 2021 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists highlights the instrumental role of prosecutorial services, investigating and prosecuting not only killings but also threats of violence against journalists.

On the day to end impunity against journalists both UJOSS and CEPO call for an end to all crimes and threats against journalists and urge all relevant stakeholders in the country, including members of the security personnel to respect the work which journalists do. 

“The issue of impunity against journalists in South Sudan is real and clear evidence that freedom of expression and the rights to information is still problematic in the country,” Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of CEPO said in a statement. 

The role of journalists in the country remains crucial especially during this time of the peace agreement implementation, constitution-making process, and elections slated for 2023.

UJOSS and CEPO urge the Media Authority of South Sudan, Information Commission, and the Communication Authority to take the lead towards ending impunity against journalists.

“The development of the code of conduct for journalists by the Media Authority of South Sudan is a great step towards correcting the situation of impunity against journalists. CEPO and UJOSS will partner with the Media Authority to disseminate the journalist’s code of conduct,” noted Yakani. 

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.