3rd April 2020
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Media Authority warns against hate speech

Author: Charles Wote | Published: Friday, February 21, 2020

The South Sudan media regulatory body has warned against hate speech, a public statement that can incite violence.

Hate speech is a form of public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

In 2018, President Salva Kiir appealed to the general public to desist from hate-mongering and posting negative comments on social media after signing the Khartoum agreement on a permanent ceasefire.

Kiir also urged the social media users and those in authority to avoid negative criticism towards the peace process in South Sudan.

According to a 2015 report by DefyHatenow, traditional media as well as internet and social media was a serious factor in fueling the South Sudan conflict since 2013.

Similarly, the 2017 report by Peace Techlab, a peace building organization, stated that “supporters of the former diverse rival parties adopted inflammatory language targeting their opponents.”

It added that social media users had then introduced new hateful language, as well as adapting previously identified terminology to meet their needs.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Media Authority says it has noticed a rampant increase in hate speech in political remarks and religious occasions.

“Media Authority strongly warns all print, broadcast and electronic media to desist from facilitating or disseminating materials deemed to be a potential hate speech in their daily publications or broadcastings,” said Alijah Alier, managing director of the Media Authority.

“Politicians, religious groups and civil society organizations are advised to refrain from ethnic base hate speech in public functions and religious gatherings.”

Section 29 (1) of the Media Authority Act 2013, says it shall be an offense to publish, broadcast or otherwise disseminate statements that threaten, insult, ridicule or otherwise abuse a person or a group with language that intends to incite others to commit acts of violence.

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