A Manager of a radio station based and three journalists in troubled Lakes State was this morning assaulted by armed policemen.
According to reports the Good News FM station manager was arrested, detained with three other station journalists, and beaten before they were freed to go.
According to the journalist body, Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) the station manager and other 3 journalists had visited a police station where a local musician was arrested.
“The Good News FM’s Director said he and his radio station’s three staff went to a police station on the demand of the police officers to answer questions about an artist who had been detained at the facility in Rumbek, upon reaching the station, they were ordered by the police to declare everything they had, one of the media personnel happened to declare an audio recorder,” a press release from UJOSS reads.
After learning that one of the journalists had an audio recorder, the police officers started raining kicks and blows on the journalist until a commanding officer of the police station intervened.
“Upon seeing the audio recorder the police officers ordered all the media personnel to lie down, assaulted the media personnel, and only stopped when a police captain, manning the station intervened. The media personnel were later set free; they left the police station with all their equipment,” UJOSS statement reads.
The new UJOSS leadership under newly-elected Patrick Oyet, has condemned the act and called on law enforcing officers to respect journalists working in the country.
“UJOSS strongly condemned the act by the police against the media personnel, whether the media personnel were suspects or not, there is no law in South Sudan that provides for assault of suspects,” pressed release signed by Patrick Oyet read.
South Sudan, recently named the least peaceful in the world is ranked the most dangerous place for journalists.
In the past years, Journalists have been killed, threatened, and gagged in South Sudan.
Reporters Without Borders, a group that monitors the safety and rights of journalists worldwide, ranked South Sudan as 125th for press freedom out of a possible 180 nations.