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Freedom of expression plays vital role in nation building: media experts exclaimed

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] --- Media experts in South Sudan last week said that freedom of expression plays a key vital role towards nation building and urged the government to protect media practitioners in the country.

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] --- Media experts in South Sudan last week said that freedom of expression plays a key vital role towards nation building and urged the government to protect media practitioners in the country.

“It is an obligation of the government to allow the media workers to do their duties without prejudice or restrictions to inform the public and shape good governance in the country,” said Mary Ajith, The Acting Chairperson of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS).

She spoke this concern during a one-day media event conducted last week at Juba Grand Hotel under the theme “Foster Freedom of Expression and Access to Information to Create a Conducive Environment for National Dialogue.”

Mrs. Ajith said though there are minor mistakes often made by journalists, there is need to pave a free atmosphere that fosters private independent outlets to operate and without censorship from the security machinists.

“Government officials together with security operators should correct negative perceptions that branded journalists as people who look only on weakness of the government to write and see the positive part of the media,” Ajith stressed.

Former Juba Monitor Editor-in-chief, Alfred Taban turned lawmaker said, the forum brought stakeholders to foster freedom of expression and access to information to create conducive environment for national dialogue and peace building to get a collective solution.

“You need have complete freedom to say what you intend to express for the betterment of the country because everyone is a party to peaceful reconstruction of the nation,” said Taban.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in 2014 signed three media bills into law. The three laws cover the right to access of information, public service broadcasting, and media regulation.

According to human rights watch, South Sudan situation is far from showing any improvement. In fact, it has deteriorated dramatically. The situation is now more alarming than ever. The civil war that began in 2013 has made things much worse for news and information providers, who are exposed to steadily increasing censorship, arbitrary arrest and violence by the parties of the conflict.

Recently, South Sudan was ranked second country that is “Not Free” by the Freedom House in the world 2018 edition followed by Syria.
Freedom in the World has been published since 1973, allowing Freedom House to track global trends in freedom over more than 40 years.

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