The IPI global network condemns the arrest and detention of Voice of America correspondent Diing Magot in South Sudan and calls on authorities to release her.
On August 7, South Sudan police arrested Diing Magot while she was covering a protest staged by disgruntled youth over unemployment, social and economic hardship, and insecurity in the country. Authorities detained her at Malakia police station, and later transferred her to Juba Central Prison. She is still behind bars though no charges have been levelled against her, the Association for Media in South Sudan (AMDISS) told IPI.
IPI supports efforts by the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJSS), a local press freedom defense group, to secure her release.
“We urge authorities in South Sudan to release Diing Magot from detention without delay”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “Journalists must be free to do their work of covering events in the public interest without interference or harassment.”
On several recent occasions, state security forces and authorities in South Sudan have engaged in harassment of media houses and journalists carrying out their constitutionally mandated duty of informing the public. For instance, in May, John Samuel Manyuon, the country’s information and communication minister, ordered the shutdown of Radio Jonglei over “breaching protocols”. Four journalists of the radio station were also suspended by the CEO of the radio station following the order by the minister. The station was later able to resume broadcasting and three of the journalists were reinstated. On February 22, eight journalists were arrested and briefly detained before being released.