South Sudan registered an improvement in the World Press Freedom Index ranking from 139 in 2019 to 138 place out of 180 countries in 2020 ranking index. Despite the transitional constitution guarantees to freedom of the press, in practice, this right is not respected.
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.