6 Journalists Detained in South Sudan for Leaking Viral Video of President Kiir

According to the union, the detained journalists are suspected of knowing how the footage was leaked.

According to the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), six journalists have been detained in South Sudan as a result of a leaked video of President Salva Kiir that went viral.

They are under investigation over a video that went viral on social media in December, which appeared to show Kiir urinating on himself at an official function

In accordance with the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joval Tombe, Cherbek Ruben, Victor Lado, Joseph Oliver, Jacob Benjamin, and Mustafa Osman, all employees of the state-run broadcaster South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), were arrested this week.

They work for SSBC, which has distanced itself from the video saying it did not air the viral footage.

According to Radio Tamazuj, an anonymous SSBC journalist stated that the footage came from the public broadcaster, but “SSBC did not broadcast any news related to that video.”

The CPJ demanded the scribes’ immediate and unconditional release.

Furthermore, the managing director of South Sudan’s Media Authority, a statutory regulator, declined to comment, claiming to be “out of office,” according to CPJ.

The CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo said the arrests match a “pattern of security personnel resorting to arbitrary detention whenever officials deem coverage unfavorable”.

“Authorities must unconditionally release these six SSBC employees and ensure that they can work without fear of further intimidation or arrest,” Mumo said.

The South Sudan Union of Journalists, which previously denied that the journalists were being detained, has now called for the investigations to be completed as soon as possible.

According to the union, the detained journalists are suspected of knowing how the footage was leaked.

After gaining independence in 2011, the arrests have harmed the young country’s international image in terms of free expression.

Reporters Without Borders ranked South Sudan 128th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2022, down more than 10 places from the 2021 index.