Wednesday, September 10, 2014

EDITORIAL: Media Censorship in South Sudan is Irresponsible!

The saddest thing about the crisis in South Sudan isn't merely the case that the average person is suffering. The saddest thing is that the South Sudanese government has adopted the very same oppressive instruments the SPLM & SPLA leadership fought against for over 20 years.

 And these maladies include... -

- Censoring News institutions
 - Cracking down on anti-government opinions
 - Dividing the country along ethnic lines while denying it
- Grotesque level of corruption and stunted development
 - Extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests without trials.
- Selective development programs

From being the voice of the people of South Sudan, Juba has taken the persona Khartoum has been using against the peoples of South Sudan for decades. However, the officials don't see anything wrong with that. This gives one an impression that the official believe that such ills are bad only if done by others and good if done by South Sudanese.

The voice of the people has become the oppressive metals against the very people the voice fought to seemingly liberate.

The constant intimidation of media personalities, and recent claims by the South Sudanese minister of information, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, that journalists shouldn't air rebels' interviews in South Sudan, are deeply worrying!

This erroneous claim assumes a lot of things. It assumes that interviewing rebels translates to supporting them. It also assumes that letting South Sudanese know the rebels' side of the story is to support their claims. This is to destroy journalistic impartiality and ethics.

While the government has every right to make sure that people in government controlled areas don't air their own personal views in support of rebels and against the government, it's sure madness to say that airing rebels views in South Sudan is subversive. Subversive activities are activities supporting the sentiments that'd lead to the fall of the government. However, letting the public know what the rebels claim is is for the benefit of the nation. It allows South Sudanese to know first-hand the truth and fallacies of the rebels.

The government shouldn't discourage opposing views. It should counter them with data-based, well-articulated positions. To discourage other opinions is to present yourself as fearful and suspiciously dishonest about something.

The rebels are South Sudanese and will one day come back to South Sudan. We shouldn't treat them as if they'll create their own country. Mindless amplification of ENMITY is irresponsible! Instead of the government enticing people by initiating conducive reforms, it's actually making things worse by acting draconian.

When the information minister tells John Tanza of Voice of America that journalists should exercise freedom of speech within the 'LAW'  the minister knows very well that it's the same 'LAW' that guarantees freedom of speech!



As someone who grew up in war conditions and lived as a refugee for a long time, I'm sometimes considered by many people in the 'west' to be prone to (or have) low self-esteem, be poor or illiterate. Living as refugees or displaced persons, who depended on the good will of others put people in a situation where they don't think much about themselves. But that's not everyone though.

As I stood by our front desk at my place work talking about Race and Identity in relation to my book, Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?, the issue of why many African peoples in North America become so over-sensitive when racial issues come up! For many rational people, this owes its origin to slavery and racial segregation.

But one of my coworkers, a person of European descent, was surprised to realize that her 'black' friend, a very intelligent woman, easily becomes irritated by simple things she [friend] considers racist. The friend considers any mention of a watermelon racist; and complains a lot about 'white privilege.' This means that discrimination is considered something 'whites' don't face because of 'white privilege.' In any discussion between 'blacks' and 'whites', 'white privilege' issue comes up!