South Sudan Journalists Facing Intimidation

By: Gregg Carlstrom | AlJazeera.net

Juba, South Sudan — The newly formed government in Juba, South Sudan, has promised its citizens a vibrant democracy; ask Nhial Bol, and he will tell you it is something closer to a dictatorship.

Bol is the editor of The Citizen, the largest newspaper in South Sudan, which opened its offices in Juba in 2006. Its motto is “Fighting corruption and dictatorship,” a slogan painted on the delivery trucks parked outside its warehouse-like offices on the outskirts of Juba.

The young paper seems to have already lived up to its mandate: It has published a number of muckraking stories about the South Sudanese government, leading to several high-level resignations – and ongoing embarrassment at various ministries.

“These are the two biggest problems in South Sudan,” Bol said, referring to his paper’s slogan. “The high level of corruption will lead to insecurity one day in South Sudan.”

The new government in Juba has promised it will respect freedom of the press. “Journalists will be free to go anywhere, take photos of anything, interview anyone,” the information minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said last week.

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