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Makuei admits to media censorship

Author: Yar Ajak | Published: Friday, October 6, 2023

Information Minister Michael Makuei speaking to reporters after the council of Ministers meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir on Friday, 6th Oct 2023. (Photo: Charles Wote/Eye Radio).

South Sudan government Spokesperson Michael Makuei has admitted to the occasional removal of articles from some newspapers at the printing press, arguing that it is intended to prevent the dissemination of inciting and hateful sentiments.

Makuei was responding to Thursday’s investigative report released by the UN Human Rights Commission on the civic and political space in the country.

The report titled “Entrenched Repression: the systemic curtailment of democratic and civic space in South Sudan” is based on the Commission’s independent investigations in 2023.

The report cited the “unlawful” media censorship and restrictions of civic and political activities.
Responding to the report, the minister stated that the government sometimes censor news articles to prevent the spread of hate speech in the country.

He further added that from time-to-time, censorship is to prevent insecurity or division in the country.

“Yes, we do sometimes remove articles from the newspapers. Why are they remove? When you write an article that is hate speech, or inciting hatred or anything as such out to be removed,” he said.

Makuei said removing the article shows that the government has opted for a compromising solution instead of targeting journalist or media houses responsible for the censored stories.

“We don’t want to move against the author, the newspapers or the media that printed the article. Otherwise, for the interest of all, we remove the article and keep quiet because it is unhealthy.”

“If it is inciting hatred then it ought to be removed instead of it going to the public then people fight over it and causing insecurity, we will prefer to take it out it.”

The minister spoke to journalists earlier today after the regular Council of Ministers on Friday.

“Otherwise, we don’t want to take that author to the court, this is why we are removing it. This is a protective measure instead of waiting for something to happen.”

The report released on Thursdays in Nairobi Kenya examines the current situation of South Sudanese media and civil society actors, both in and outside of the country.

It pointed out that considering the prospect of national elections in December 2024, the government to halt attacks on journalists and human rights defenders.

The report added that independent online media are routinely targeted by cyberattacks and website blockages.

 

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