Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) representing journalists covering the region for foreign media organisations has rebuked the recent expulsion of two of its members from South Sudan.
Six days ago, an Associated Press (AP) journalist Sam Mednick had her press accreditation revoked for six months, forcing her out of the country.
The South Sudan government’s actions were in response to a story published by the Canadian journalist saying that tensions were rising in the capital ahead of the formation of a unity government.
Mednick was accused of fabricating “misinformation intended to create panic and a fear of the unknown.”
Before her departure, the AP journalist reported from South Sudan for close to three years.
On November 3, a French journalist Bastien Renouil with France24 was detained upon arriving in Juba and held overnight under unclear circumstances.
Mr Renouil was deported the next day even though he was in possession of a visa.
The foreign correspondents’ body further noted an escalation in repression of press freedom something that is making it difficult for journalists to access the country for fear of intimidation.
“We stand by our members and colleagues working for S Sudanese media, who regularly face intimidation and threats. We call on the international community, specifically the diplomatic community of South Sudan and East Africa, to prioritize press freedom,” a FCAEA statement read in part.
In light of the troubling expulsion of two journalists, we call on the govt of South Sudan and its media authority to immediately stop blocking professional and experienced reporters from working in South Sudan. Please SHARE our full statement: pic.twitter.com/EKifXCCP0A
— FCAEA (@FCAEA) November 6, 2019
Last week, a foreign body representing correspondents in Uganda condemned the government for arresting and intimidating journalists covering the Makerere University students’ tuition protest.
Lawrence Kitata of Bukedde newspaper, Chris Ssemakula of BBS television and another believed to be a BBC correspondent were apprehended and driven to unknown destinations.
A NBS journalist Canary Mugume also had his camera snatched while reporting live from the campus.
A fortnight ago, FCAU said in a statement, at least 15 journalists were teargassed for providing coverage during a press conference called by student leaders. The reporters said police forced them to delete material of students with disabilities being arrested.