Journalist held incommunicado for past week in South Sudan

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Adil Faris Mayat, the head of South Sudan’s state-owned national TV broadcaster, SSBC, who has been held incommunicado since 10 July.

Mayat has just completed a week in detention without being able to speak to his family or lawyer, who have not been able to obtain any information about his state of health or the conditions in which he is being held. No charges have been brought against him.

National security officers arrested him one day after SSBC failed to provide live coverage of a speech that President Salva Kiir gave to mark the sixth anniversary of the country’s independence, although Mayat attributed this failure to technical problems.

Kiir has been South Sudan’s president – and an RSF “press freedom predator” – since 2011.

“We call for this journalist’s immediate release,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “Frequent arbitrary measures of this kind by the security services and the accompanying impunity are killing media freedom in South Sudan and are holding back a return to peace and national reconciliation.”

After South Sudan obtained independence in 2011, a civil war broke out in 2013 and the ensuing political and security crisis has not spared the media. News outlets have been suspended, newspaper issues have been seized, and journalists have been detained arbitrarily, tortured, harassed, forced to censor themselves or forced to flee abroad.

South Sudan has fallen 20 places in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index since 2015 and is now ranked 145th out of 180 countries.

More information about South Sudan here.

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Updated on 18.07.2017