Insecurity Debate: Parliament blocks Journalists
The National Legislative Assembly has block Journalists from attending the debate on the Komiru insecurity. “Get out of the Parliament now, no Journalists are allowed to attend the today session” security men on police uniform told the Journalists. Over fifteen Journalists and observers who do attend the Parliamentary sittings were sent away last week, as the Parliament sat to discuss insecurity in Komiru Village and Gudele 107.
Komiru insecurity that claimed lives of eight civilians has sparked chaos among Parliamentarians, as the Mps looked at the Komiru incident on tribal bases. Many Journalists who attended the first Parliamentarian sitting on the same matter have published articles on how the Mps were expressing emotions on support of their communities instead of viewing the matter as a National concern. After reading the article from the first Parliamentarian sitting the Mps developed fear that the Journalists will expose the way they tackle the matter.
The Parliament at first allowed the Journalists, but shortly security people entered the Parliament ordering Journalists to quite the Assembly, upon a question on the reasons as to why Journalists are not allowed. The security men told the Journalists that the orders are from above. The motion was continuation on the Komiru issue as the parliament summoned the Governor of Central Equatoria State, the Defense and the Interior Ministers in the National Government, the Commissioner of Juba County and the state Minister of the Physical infrastructure in Central Equatoria to answer question on insecurity in Komiru, but unfortunately the Journalists were kept at the beginning of the debate.
The Journalists express worries over continues lockage from attending Parliamentary session. Mary Ajith a Journalists of Citizen newspaper said that nothing is secret for the public as the Parliamentarians think. She the action of the Parliamentary executive and the security people has shown the degree of oppression in the country. Mary disclosed that it’s not the first time that Journalists had been sent out of the Parliament. She said that she has experienced three times series of blockage in 2012.
“According to Mary, the Transitional constitution of the South Sudan has stated that Journalists shall not be allowed to attend session that concern insecurity in the country, but now how can real the public know anything about the security of the Nation. She said that it has become a culture of the Parliament that any time it discusses internal security issues, Journalists will not attend. According to Mary the motion that involved Ministers will spark more chaos than before.
The Parliamentarian first session on the insecurity issue in Gudele was a challenge to the Government as the MPs break in to tribal bases instead of looking on the matter as nationals concern. Mary asked the security personnel on reasons as to why Journalists are send out, but the security person said that they received the others from above. A security man who fears identification told the Journalists to keep in the Parliament compound. He said that the Chairperson of the committee of Information and security affairs in the Assembly will brief the Journalists after the session, but the Journalists walk out saying that they don’t rely on second hand information.
Mary said that nothing is secret that the Parliament can discuss from the public, saying that her role as journalist is to raise the opinion of the societies to the Government and inform the public on the operation of the Government, but the blockage from the Parliament has made her work difficult. She said that it’s not a new thing for South Sudan local journalist, according to Mary she had experienced three blockages from the Parliamentary session this year and continues abstraction from accessing information in the executive. She said that the Government South Sudan sees the Media as a destructive tool.
Ocan David Nicholas a reporter of Sudan Radio Catholic Network who was also blocked from the Parliamentary sitting said that the Parliament blocked Journalists because they intend to tackle the issue, as they handled before ten days back. The Parliament in the first debate has spilt in the ethnical instead of focusing on National concern. The Journalists who were blocked from the Parliamentary session were later allowed to attend the sitting when it has started; the Journalists worry was that they did not witness the starting of the session.