SOUTH SUDAN: A press freedom organization has claimed that six journalists have been imprisoned by South Sudanese security forces as a result of viral video showing the president of the nation reportedly peeing on himself.
South Sudanese security forces imprisons six journalists
In the video, which was captured during an official function, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is seen standing for the playing of the national anthem while initially appearing unconcerned as a stain grows on his pants and a pool forms at his feet. After Kiir and his entourage appear to notice what is happening, the camera immediately turns away.
The National Security Service of the nation detained six journalists from the state-run South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on suspicion of releasing the video without permission, according to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Friday.
Joval Tombe, the director of the control room, camera operators Victor Lado, Joseph Oliver, and Jacob Benjamin, camera operators Mustafa Osman, and Cherbek Ruben, the technician for the control room, were the detainees, according to the CPJ, which cited media sources and people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“The arrests fit a pattern of security personnel resorting to arbitrary detention whenever officials deem coverage unfavourable,” according to Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s representative for sub-Saharan Africa.
Mumo added, “Authorities should assure that these six SSBC personnel can operate without additional fear of intimidation or arrest” and grant them unrestricted liberty.”
According to independent news outlet Sudans Post, who cited an unnamed employee of state television, authorities had been looking for the photographer who captured Kiir’s accident on camera.
An SSBC representative confirmed to independent media source Radio Tamazuj that the footage was not broadcast.
The president, 71, was questioned about his competence to lead a country dealing with war, poverty, and climate change after the video was extensively posted on social media last month.
It has triggered a heated discussion over the morality of publishing such footage on social media and accusations of disrespect for an elderly person. Kiir has been in charge since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011.
Conflict with a splinter group of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, sexual violence, crackdowns on the opposition, and political corruption, has tarnished his leadership.
Since Kiir joined the president’s office, the nation has not held elections, but one is planned for 2024.
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