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Media Authority upholds ban of 20 Foreign Journalists

Author : Mabior Philip | Published: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dr. Riek Machar briefs foreign journalists in Addis Ababa in 2015 | Credit | Mulugeta Ayene/AP

Media Authority has said it is maintaining the rejection of 20 foreign journalists from reporting in South Sudan.

In a press statement, the Managing Director, Elijah Alier, said the body had denied visas to the journalists recently because their reporting contributed to hate speech and incite violence.

Though last week, the head of the communication unit of the National Dialogue Committee Alfred Taban, told foreign diplomats that the Media Authority had given assurances that any journalist would be allowed to report in South Sudan.

“I asked, I said, why don’t you allow foreign journalists to come to the country, and he promised me that this has been suspended. I said, ‘whether skeptics or not, they [Journalists] must be allowed to come into the country,” said Taban.

The Media Authority issued the statement asserting the rejection days after Mr. Alfred spoke to diplomats about lifting the ban.

An association of foreign correspondents had criticized the rejection of the journalists from reporting in South Sudan, saying the reporters in question were experienced, professionals.

In a contradictory response, Mr. Alfred, who is also the Chairperson of the Association for Media Development in South Sudan, said the association does not support journalists who do their work unprofessionally.

“AMDISS, of course, is worried if journalists are not allowed to come into the country. But as I said, the Managing Director said they have a record of these journalists who are denied and many of them have written inaccurate articles, biased articles. So we don’t really support journalists who do their work unprofessionally and they want to come to South Sudan to do their work. They must be professional. They must write accurate articles and so forth.” said Alfred.

Mr. Alier said the body has accepted 200 international journalists and will continue to allow journalists and media houses to carry out their coverage in accordance with the media regulations and as required by law.

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