Police calls for better cooperation with media
The police are more than willing to work with members of the press, the service spokesperson and deputy spokesperson, Col. James Dak, said.
Col. Dak made the remarks during a symposium on freedom of expression and access to information on Tuesday.
He said this would change the narratives about the police in the media in South Sudan.
“For many years, the press relied on the police for news tips, and the police still remain the authority on basic information,” he stated.
“At the same time, the media is the only channel through which the police can communicate with the public, to ask for assistance with investigations, a murder inquiry, call for witnesses, look for missing persons, or summon people to appear in court,” Dak explained.
Dak, however, blamed some of the shortcomings of the police on the lack of proper training of some officers, on freedom of expression.
“There are times our police don’t know how to behave towards journalists and to allow journalists to access information and freely exercise their profession,” he said.
Dak said the police and journalists are both guided by a set of codes of conduct in their respective professions.
“It is up to journalists to decide what level of risk they are willing to take, as long as they do not violate the law,” he emphasized.
A 2022 United Nations Commission on Human Rights report blamed the government for harassing members of the press, limiting their activities, and targeting their work and finances.
The commission said South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.
During the panel discussions, one of the proposals put forward by journalists at the seminar was that the National Constitution Review Committee (NCRC) should come up with a proper framework for legislative reform to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information.
Two weeks ago, the presidency proposed the repeal of a provision within the National Security Act that allowed the agents of the National Security Service to arrest people without a warrant.
Chaplain Kara, a professor at the University of Juba, stressed the importance of establishing professional relations between the law enforcement officials and the journalists.