Six journalists have been arrested in South Sudan after they released a video showing President Salva Kiir urinating during an official ceremony, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, which is calling for their release.
Public television reporters were detained on Tuesday by National Security Service agents, the New York-based CPJ said in a statement released on Friday.
According to the organization, which cites local media and other sources close to the case, the reporters are being investigated after the spread of a video that went viral on social media in December, showing the 71-year-old police chief. been urinating on himself in an official ceremony.
These arrests are “a tendency by the security forces to resort to arbitrary detention when officials feel the media coverage is unfavorable,” said Muthoko Mumo, CPJ representative for sub-Saharan Africa.
“The authorities should unconditionally release the journalists and ensure they can work without being intimidated or threatened with arrest,” he added.
The South Sudan Journalists’ Union also called for a “prompt conclusion” of the investigation into the six journalists, suspected of “knowing the ‘precise sequence’ of the video that was released to the public”.
“If there has been professional misconduct or an offence,” the authorities must “deal with it fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law,” he continued in a statement.
In the images, circulated last December, Kiir sported his signature black hat, a look he adopted after George W. Bush gifted him such a hat during a visit to the White House in 2006.
Kiir has been president of South Sudan since 2011, after his country voted for independence from the north.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.