Ugandans have started a campaign on social media to demand the immediate release of the the country’s Journalists arrested in neighboring South Sudan.
Hilary Ayesiga, Justin Dralaze Ziras and their driver were arrested on Saturday and are accused of illegally working in the country without accreditation and filming near key sensitive government institutions.
Now Ugandans have started a campaign on both Facebook and Twitter calling on the Juba administration to immediately release the duo.
Using the hash-tag #FreeUgandaJournos on both Facebook and Twitter, the campaigners mainly made up of Journalists are calling on Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s President to release the journalists.
This comes a day after South Sudan said it would release Ugandan journalists after conducting “thorough background checks”.
A senior security officer said the agency had been in contact with the Ugandan government through its embassy in Juba and that they had been made aware of the situation.
“The migration office does not have documents identifying them as journalists which they claimed when they were found filming near key sensitive government institutions. They also do not have accredited documents showing they are journalists from the ministry of information, so we need to conduct thorough background checks which we are doing with our embassy in Uganda but they will definitely be released”, the officer told Sudanese Media.
Both the under-secretary, George Garang, and director-general at the ministry of information, Mustafa Biong, confirmed the arrests, adding that they also do not have any knowledge of the duo being accredited journalists by the institution.
Neither of the senior officials would comment on what role the ministry would play in the case.
“This is a security issue and should be treated as such”, Garang told Sudanese media on Monday.
The head of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Oliver Modi, equally avoided commenting on the issue, in an indication of the levels of self-censorship such controversial or sensitive issues attract, in a country where relations between media and security organs have increasingly become unstable.
SOURCE: SUDAN TRIBUNE