Deputy Speaker condemned arbitrary arrest of journalists

Deputy Speaker condemned arbitrary  arrest of journalists
First Deputy Speaker Oyet Nathaniel Pierino addressing the press in a past event. [Photo: Courtesy.

Deputy Speaker condemned arbitrary arrest of journalists

 Security personnel have been warned against interfering with the independence of the media.

Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the First Deputy Speaker of the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) strongly condemned the recent arrest of journalists by Parliamentary security personnel.

The nine members of the fourth estate were on Monday, June 13, detained by the security for hours inside the chambers.

“We were going to cover the session and then they (Parliament security) rounded us up saying that we were not allowed access inside the House yet we have been covering parliamentary sittings for long and so they can’t claim that we were strangers,” one of the affected journalists told City Review.

The incident took place at Freedom Hall where legislatures are currently meeting following the ongoing renovation work at the main Parliament Building.

Pierino who is a member of the main opposition group – Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), said the barbaric action of National Security Services personnel in the reconstituted parliament (TNLA) was “shocking”.

“We shall never stomach and legalise a lack of political space in the country or enact an undemocratic political party’s act amendment bill.

“The National Security Services has no powers to obstruct the proceedings of parliament. Indiscriminate arrests and detention of members of media houses invited to cover parliamentary proceedings,” Pierino said in a social media post.

  During the more than two-hour ordeal, the security personnel, according to the journalists, confiscate the job IDs, before forcing them to switch off their phones

He added: “I urge the national security services to respect the freedom of the press and immediately subordinate to the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.”

Ador Deng Ador, the Public Relations Officer, Office of the Speaker, absolved his office from any blame saying that they only learnt about the incident through social media.

“Until we left yesterday, there was nothing like that.

“We left the parliament (on Monday) after the sitting was adjourned, and there is nothing like that reported. People have been talking about it on social media but there is no official report to the office of the Speaker up to now.

He added the order to arrest did not come from the speaker’s office.