South Sudan authorities detain Juba Post managing editor over article criticizing a senior army officer for his role in a tribal land deal
South Sudan authorities detain Juba Post managing editor in Juba
From Sudan Tribune by Manyang Mayom (Khartoum) 13 January 2009:
The managing editor of The Juba Post, Isaac Billy Gideon, was detained Monday for a press release that was run in the newspaper two months ago. Gideon, who spent about nine hours in custody, was arrested at 10:00am yesterday but was bailed out at 6:50 pm.- - -
The Juba Post Editor-in-Chief Charles Luganya Ronyo, who is currently in Khartoum, strongly condemned the arrest of his managing editor. He said that a newspaper cannot be held accountable for press releases or public opinions. "The arrest of Mr. Gideon is an attempt at intimidation for newspapers not to run press releases or opinion concerning the land grabbing in the south."
The Juba Post newspaper has been registered in Khartoum on 9 January, 2005 and start printing 5,000 copies weekly from Monday and Wednesday double a week said Luganya. "Our newspaper is read in Southern Sudan and in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan."
The Madi community in Juba issued a press statement two months ago condemning the malpractices of land allocation in Nimule to Business. In the press release that was also published by many other newspapers mentioned SPLA Brigadier William Deng of being in charge of the land mismanagement?
"The press release was signed by advocate Becho Pitia" said Luganya.
When the press release was published, Brigadier Deng approached the newspaper and denied that story, but the Juba Post told him that they are not accountable for the press release from the Madi community.
However, Deng has filed a case against The Juba Post under Article 152 of 2008 of South Sudan for libel and self-defamation.
Sudan media executive held over land article
From Reuters (Juba) by Skye Wheeler 14 January 2009:
A south Sudanese newspaper executive on Wednesday said he was detained after his tabloid published an article criticizing a senior army officer for his role in a tribal land deal.See Sudan Watch 14 January 2009: South Sudan's proposed Land Bill will deny Sudanese ownership of their own land by granting foreigners 99 year leases
Isaac Swangin, managing director of the Juba Post, is the second senior media figure in the region detained over controversial articles in recent months.
Freedom of the press was guaranteed under a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between north and south Sudan and set up a semi-autonomous southern government. But editors and journalists in both north and south complain of continued censorship, print-run seizures and harassment.
Swangin said the Juba Post was one of a number of newspapers that published a press release from the Madi tribal community complaining southern soldiers from the majority Dinka tribe were selling their land to Somali investors without permission.
A major general mentioned by name in the statement later demanded a printed apology at the paper's office in the south's capital Juba, he added. Swangin said the paper refused, but interviewed the army official and ran an article including his perspective.
"We thought that was the end," Swangin said, "but he came back yesterday with the police."
Swangin said he was released on bail on Tuesday evening after being held in prison for nine hours. It was unclear whether he would face charges.
Nhial Bol, editor and owner of the daily Citizen newspaper, was held in a police station for three days in October over an article criticizing high salaries in south Sudan's legal ministry. (Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Trevelyan)