South Sudan

South Sudan is one of the youngest countries in the world. It gained its independence on July 9,2011 after many years of liberation war  that saw it ceased from Sudan. It has a population of about 11,193,725.  The country recently celebrated a decade of independence.

Despite this formal independence, South Sudan continues to be at conflict with Sudan over ownership of certain oil reserves.

Two years into its independence, a civil war broke out in South Sudan that has seen an estimated 300,000 people killed and over 3 million displaced.  The UN continues to play a key role ensuring humanitarian aid and public order.

In young country has endeavoured to be a respected member of the international community. It has ratified some of the key international and regional human rights instruments. It has continued to engage UN and African Union bodies.

The 2011 Transitional Constitution of South Sudan guarantees freedom of expression, media freedom, and access to information. Also the country enacted two sets of progressive Laws-Broadcasting Corporation Act, 2013, the Right of access to Information Act, 2013. However, the Penal Code, the Media Authority Act, and the National Security Services Act unduly limit media rights.

Criminal defamation law is still used widely to stifle free expression. Abuses by the country’s security forces have gone largely unpunished, including attacks against, torture and killing of journalists and human rights defenders. Such attacks create an environment of fear and self-censorship, as have other government efforts to silence criticism, including the blocking of certain media outlets’ websites, the banning of broadcasting by some outlets, and expulsion of foreign journalists from the country.

Freedom of expression and media freedom are largely restricted and shackled by rampant censorship, physical attacks, arbitrary arrests and detention and harassment of journalists by security agencies and senior political actors on both sides of the political divide.

Ten journalists have been killed in line of duty in the past years in the country according to Committee to Protect Journalists. The 2021 world Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders ranks South Sudan 139 in 2021 which is a decline of one positions from 138 in 2020. Freedom House rates the country as not free in its Freedom in the world 2021 Country Report with a score of 22 out of possible 100. ARTICLE 19 in its Global Expression Report 2021 categorized South Sudan as a country in crisis.

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