Community Empowerment for progress Organization on Thursday told reporters during a press conference at the Association for Media Development in South Sudan -AMDISS building that Journalist are the nails for Democracy and respect to human rights in any state that want to promote the two.
The press conference that brought together UNESCO, End Impunity Organization, Union of Journalist in South Sudan, Community Empowerment for progress Organization and South Sudanese media consultant was prearranged to inform the public on the celebrations of the International Day to End Impunity that will be conducted on November 2 2014.
‘’If you want ensure that you want nail democracy and respect of human rights in your state, the nail is journalist,’’ Edimon Yakani CEPO Executive Director says.
The executive director says they annually conduct survey to registers cases against journalist and media houses adding that full report will be launched on November 2 covering the period from 15 December until the current time.
He says there are three major cases of impunity in Juba, Awiel and Bor adding that 10 cases of harassment, intimidation of journalist across the country mainly in Juba, Torit, Kwajok, Yei Awiel and Wau were recorded.
Yakani adds that these do not only end up in the private Media, he says it goes to the public media houses only that they do not report.
CEPO points out that there are four cases of arbitrary arrest and detention in Juba, Wau and Awiel with two Independent News Papers being confiscated in Juba, One Independent Radio station shut down in Juba, two cases of threats of Possible shut down of independent radio stations in Yei, Wau and Awiel.
15 percent registered cases as impunity, 50 percent are harassment and intimidation, 20 percent shows arbitrary arrest and detention, 10 percent constitutes confiscation of news papers and 5 percent of independent radio stations being shut down, he discloses.
Angelina Daniel from the End Impunity Origination in South Sudan associated the culture of impunity in South Sudan to the problem of rule of law calling on law enforcement agents to stick to their job to ensure that it is followed.
She notes while expressing her happiness to UNESCO that journalist in the country always faces problem when they write political stories related to corruption.
In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on journalist safety and proclaimed 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity making it the first time the General Assembly adopted a resolution directly addressing journalists’ safety and the issue of impunity.
UNESCO head of office in Juba and Country Representative to South Sudan Salah Khaled says the UN Plan of Action calls for addressing Impunity which is understood as the failure to bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to justice because it perpetuates the cycle of violence against journalist.
‘’The safety of Journalist and the struggle against impunity for their killers are essential to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’’Khaled says ‘’while the problem of impunity is not restricted to the failure to investigate the murders of Journalist and Media workers, the curtailment of their expression deprives society as a whole of their journalistic contribution and results in wider impact on press freedom where a climate of intimidation and violence leads to self censorship’’.
Freedom of expression is an individual right for which no one should be killed he stresses adding that it is a collective right which empowers populations through facilitating dialogue, participation and democracy making autonomous and sustainable development possible.
He says crimes against journalists should be eradicated within the media houses calling on the employers in media to deal with the issues of low wages, long working hours, and safety and security measures on both female and male journalist together with improvement of journalistic skills.
UNESCO explains that South Sudan is one of the five countries that accepted to implement the UN Plan of Action on Safety and Issues of Impunity adding that Iraq, Nepal and Pakistan are yet Piloting the Plan though Mexico at later stages accepted to implement.
The Union of Journalist in South Sudan noted the culture of War as one possible cause of impunity in the new nation which has results to disrespect to rule of law and ignorance calling on all stake holders to pay serious attention to address for a sustainable peace and stability.
Oliver Modi the chairperson of the Union says they have been engaged with government agents in continues dialogues, empowering journalist, safe guarding and protecting Journalist from unnecessary arrest, harassment and detention, lobby with Members of Parliament to reduce impunity in South Sudan.
Reacting to journalist questions on the fate of the media law, he says they are doing anything possible to ensure that the signed media document is what the parliament passed to the president office.
South Sudan Media law was signed by the president nearly a month but public still complain of not having seen the document.