Free speech at stake in South Sudan
Author: IRIN Africa | IRIN Africa
Date: 7 February 2013
JUBA, 7 February 2013 (IRIN) - Increasing reports of harassment faced by journalists and civil society in South Sudan have raised concern that the world’s newest country is curtailing the basic freedoms it spent decades fighting its northern neighbour for.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, after decades of rebellion against Khartoum. Today, Sudan ranks 170th out of 179 countries on the Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index, while South Sudan is ranked 124th, having fallen 13 places from the 2011-2012 index.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently highlighted South Sudan as an area of concern in its annual World Report, calling on the government to "investigate and prosecute attacks on protesters, activists and journalists and pass laws protecting free expression."
Though there had been reports of journalists being detained, beaten and threatened, the first murder of a journalist in the country occurred in December 2012. The government's failure to pass legislation protecting the media has increased concerns about the state of press freedom.
The article was originally posted on IRIN Africa on February 7, 2013