AMDISS Newsletter 3rd Issue, 14th, April 2020

Welcome to AMDISS Newsletter
The purpose of this newsletter is to give some insights on the current media environment in South Sudan to keep our citizens, media actors, stakeholders, and partners informed, engaged and active in the development in the sector. In this newsletter you will find both positive and negative cases for media development. These include media incidences and advocacy cases, calls for action and more.  The newsletter will be published bi-weekly.
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As South Sudan confirmed its fourth case of COVID-19 on the 10th of April 2020, we continue to raise awareness to the general public to play the precautionary measures to prevent further spread of Coronavirus to the young nation. Let us continue to stand with the world in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus by practicing frequent hand-washing, avoiding social gatherings, practicing social distancing and staying at home. We hope everyone unites during these times and stays safe through self-awareness and social solidarity.
According to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. The whole of Africa has rising cases with only two countries still corona-virus free as of April 14. There are now more than 15,000 confirmed cases of corona-virus across the African continent, with over 800 deaths as of April 14.

With a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic, we hope you all stay informed and safe in South Sudan and wherever you may be.

Stay safe|AMDISS                                                                                                      


South Sudan confirms fourth case of Covid-19 

South Sudan has confirmed its fourth case of Covid-19 on Friday 10th, one day after reporting the third case on Thursday.  According to media reports, the 60 year old man is a contact of the first case which was reported on April 5th.
This recent incident is confirmed from a South Sudanese old man who works with UN as a driver of the first case.

Speaking on the state owned Television on Friday, Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol, the COVID-19 incident Manager at the country’s Ministry of Health said, the fourth case is a local who contracted the disease from the first case.

“The fourth case is an adult, a contact of the first case. The case is confirmed to be a local transmission because it is attached to the first case imported, and now the person here got it from the first case. The issue of giving details of the cases is being reserved for now because it is creating stigmatization” said Dr. Angok. He described the patient as a driver of the first case.

In his televised address Thursday to announce the third case in the country, President Salva Kiir warned the nation against making xenophobic remarks against foreigners saying Coronavirus can be brought to South Sudan by anyone including South Sudanese. His warning came days after South Sudan witnessed an increase of hate speech about foreigners on social media.

So far, the COVID-19 Team has identified 52 contacts linked to the first case and has collected 29 blood samples of those contacts.

And a total of 70 coronavirus tests have been conducted nationwide according to Dr. Angok Gordon Kuol. South Sudan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Sunday 5th April after a 29 year old female UN staff who had travelled from Netherlands to Juba via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 28, tested positive.

#Media Landscape key highlights in South Suda

Shut down of Agamlong Daily Newspaper by National Security

Case Details

On March 30th, a national security officer deployed at the Universal Printing Press in Juba seized a flash disc that was containing news to be printed on Agamlong Daily Newspaper for March 31st. The officer also ordered for indefinite closure of Agamlong Newspaper. Following that incidence, the newspaper management sought meeting with the Director of Media and Information at the National Security Service to find out the reason that led to the closure of the newspaper. However, their request for a meeting was turned down. They were however, told to reopen the newspaper until they get further directive from NSS.  Meanwhile, on March 31st, the newspaper management presented a complaint letter to the Media Authority, complaining about the indefinite closure of its newspaper without any reason given. The media Authority received the letter, until now, there is no feedback from the authority on whatever step they have taken to ensure the reopening of the paper.
It should be noted that, the closure of the newspaper came after a series of cases, including removal of several opinion articles, the newspaper management were summoned a number of times and warned against writing critical opinions and stories, etc.
AMDISS calls on all members of organized forces across South Sudan to respect freedom of the press and channel all media complaints to Media Authority which is the only regulatory body in the country responsible for media related issues.

22nd March 2020
Intimidation of Joseph Ngor Deng
Media Network: Mayardit FM of former Aweil State

Case Details

On March 22, the Editor of Mayardit FM of former Aweil State, Mr. Joseph Ngor Deng was intimidated by the State Authorities not to broadcast a story on low implementation of the Presidential Order which bans social gatherings including religious meetings across the country due to corona virus fears. President Kiir banned social gatherings and religious prayers on Monday, 16th March 2020.
According to Editor Joseph Ngor Deng, he received live threats from the National Security agent after interviewing on phone the former Aweil State Secretary General about why some people were still praying in churches on Sunday 22nd amidst Presidential ban on social gatherings including religious meetings.
So, due to fears of repercussions from the Presidency as a result of insubordination, the Aweil State Government Secretary General then ordered the National Security officer in the state to warn him not to report about the state reluctance to implement the Order.
With the state governors not yet named, AMDISS urges all the state government secretaries across the country to allow free dissemination of  coronavirus information to the general public across South Sudan without any hindrances.

#Other Developments

Media Authority warns media houses on corona virus reporting

Elijah Alier Kuai, South Sudan Media Authority Managing Director file photo

On March 26th, the South Sudan Media Authority issued a notice on corona virus (COVID-19) to all media houses warning them to cautiously disseminate credible information obtained from the rightful designated health experts in the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO). In the letter, the Media Authority Managing Director, Elijah Alier Kuai advised the High Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic and the Team for Coronavirus control in the Ministry of Health to give access to all recognized media outlets and journalists in the country to get the utmost facts about the disease so they can accurately report across the country for the general public to understand.
He also stresses that journalists should be provided with health safety tools, guidance and facilitation in their efforts to gather information and report about the disease without any hindrances. Alier added that, security forces should protect and permit radio broadcasters’ and newspaper publishers’ free movement during the curfew hours.
He strongly warned all media practitioners and individuals to desist from what he calls disseminating unfounded misinformation or spread false rumours about the disease to the public.
The warning came after President Salva Kiir issued a statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 16th, 2020 banning social gatherings across South Sudan.

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