24th February 2020
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World condemns expulsion of AP reporter

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: 4 months ago

The media and diplomatic community have condemned the expulsion of a foreign reporter from South Sudan.

In October, the Media Authority  revoked the press accreditation of Canadian journalist Sam Mednick.

This is in response to a recent story she wrote for The Associated Press, the New York Times reports.

“The South Sudanese officials withdrew Mednick’s accreditation for six months, forcing her to leave the country. She was one of the very few foreign text journalists working in South Sudan,” it writes.

She had earlier filed a story for Associated Press, describing a possible return to civil war as the leaders disagreed over security arrangements and that tensions were rising in the capital ahead of the formation of a unity government.

“After almost three years of reporting from South Sudan, my press pass was revoked (for 6 months) because I was told that I ‘concocted misinformation intended to create panic and fear of unknown,’” she tweeted.

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Before her departure, the AP freelancer reported from South Sudan for close to three years.
“Not many international reporters brave the bloodshed and chaos of South Sudan to let the world know of the horrors taking place there. That suits the thugs who thrive on violence and chaos just fine: It is often reporting from the scene that helps generate the shock and shame for governments and international organizations to intervene in bloody power struggles that otherwise could drag on without end, destroying endless lives and uprooting countless families,” writes New York Times’ The Editorial Board.

The one of the oldest newspapers described the board as a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

For her part, the US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, who recently visited South Sudan, tweeted:

“@sammednick has been the voice of the people of #SouthSudan. As a woman, she earned their trust and confidence. It’s appalling that the South Sudanese government has now silenced the unthinkable horrors she exposed through her reporting. Who will be their voice?”

The Nairobi-based Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) has also voiced its concern about expulsion Mednick.

“We stand by our members and colleagues working for S Sudanese media, who regularly face intimidation and threats,” a FCAEA statement read in part.

“We call on the international community, specifically the diplomatic community of South Sudan and East Africa, to prioritize press freedom.”

Only foreign reporters often report about sensitive issues, including corruption, front line, rape and other human rights violations by the government and Opposition forces since the outbreak of the civil war in 2013.

The local media outlets are often threatened with closure and censorship and journalists killed, harassed, intimidated and exiled by security organs, particularly the National Security Service.

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