*Editor of the Destiny Daily arrested
South Sudan President Salva Kiir. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW |
By MACHEL AMOS in JubaPosted Monday, November 7 2011 at 14:38
South Sudan journalists warned against repression Monday after the state shut down an English daily newspaper and arrested its editor.
The Destiny daily, an English version of Al-Masier Arabic daily, was shut down for publishing an article critical of the wedding of President Salva Kiir’s daughter to an Ethiopian man.
”This wedding is a demonstration that foreigners have not only monopolised our market, economy and robbed our integrity after penetrating it, but it is also a demonstration that they have taken over our national pride,” a section of the article read.
“What else is left if an alien could penetrate all the hedges and invade the house of our President, elope and impregnate his daughter?” the article continued.
The article has been viewed as an infringement on the personality and privacy of the First Family.
The newspaper was served with an order to stop publication indefinitely and the security personnel arrested the editor.
“The constitution gives the media people the right of freedom of expression. But, like anywhere else, that freedom has limit(s). If you abuse it, then, like any other citizen doing other things, you have to answer (for) the violation,” said deputy Information minister Atem Yaak Atem.
“It not just that you are free to do anything you like. You have to respect the right of others,” Mr Atem said.
Mr Atem could not tell the whereabouts of the arrested editor, Mr Ngor Arol Garang, who reports for Sudan Tribune website.
The media fraternity is worried that the move could limit public debate on critical matters.
“Such incidents really put people’s hopes down for if you look at the way media houses report, they will be insincere because they will be thinking that if you write anything against the government or against any individual, you will be arrested,” the secretary general of South Sudan Union of Journalists (SSUJ), Mr Peter Bongiri said.
“It is not about attack on privacy. It is about someone giving his opinion on a matter. Everybody has got the right to say his opinion against what step you have taken,” Mr Bongiri said.
The newspaper reportedly published an apology to the First Family.
The whereabouts of the arrested journalist remained unclear, four days since he was taken into confinement, contrary to the constitution.
“A person arrested by the police as part of an investigation, may be held in detention, for a period not exceeding 24 hours and if not, released on bond to be produced in court. The court has authority to either remand the accused in prison or to release him or her on bail,” reads Article 19(4) of the constitution.