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US govt watches media situation in S. Sudan – US Envoy

Author : | Published: Monday, December 9, 2013

Ambassador Donald Booth, US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan

The U.S Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, has urged the government to allow the media to operate freely and responsibly.

“My Government is advocates for press freedom around the world, because it is a fundamental need of democracy,” Ambassador Booth told the media in Juba.

“The United States remains very much watchful of what is happening here in South Sudan.”

“And I would just like to read you a quote President Obama said last year,” he added, “he said no matter the cause, when journalists are intimidated, attacked or imprisoned,  or disappeared, individuals begin to self-censor and fear replaces truth and whole of our society suffers. A culture of impunity for such action must not be allowed to persist in any country.”

Ambassador Booth said the U.S believes that a vibrant press can assist a country’s development.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to South Sudan, Dr. Susan Page, said the government should respect the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, where press freedom is enshrined:

“Your own constitution protects the right of freedom of the press—freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and all of the freedoms are imbedded in your own constitution.

“It’s in your supreme law. We recognize that there have been threats and people are afraid at times and as you know a robust and free press are one way of helping to make this country stronger and more protective of all of its citizens.”

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Honorable Michael Makuei Lueth has ordered all the media houses to register their journalists with the government.

Last week, he gave an ultimatum to all media houses to register by the weekend or they would be shut down today.

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