South Sudan reporters hold news blackout

  • 22/08/2015
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (C) shakes hand with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (Reuters)
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (C) shakes hand with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (Reuters)

South Sudanese journalists have held a 24-hour news blackout after their colleague was shot dead, days after President Salva Kiir publicly threatened to kill journalists who reported "against the country".

Journalists demanded an investigation into the reporter's killing, while rights groups have said the government should clarify the comments made last week by Kiir.

Newspaper journalist Peter Moi was shot twice in the back on Wednesday in an apparently targeted attack, the seventh journalist killed this year in the war-ravaged country. The gunman left Moi's telephone and money in his pockets.

"Freedom of the press does not mean you work against the country," Kiir told journalists on Sunday as he left for peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"If anybody among them (journalists) does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day, one time."

Journalists gathered on Friday to remember their colleague as the blackout kicked in.

"We hope to raise awareness that journalists are not happy with the way the government has been handling things... and to put pressure on the government to move quickly to get the killer of this boy," said Alfred Taban, head of the Association of Media Development in South Sudan, AMDISS.

The government of the world's youngest nation on Monday refused to ink a power-sharing deal signed by rebels, despite the threat of sanctions and mounting international frustration at the failure to seal a peace accord.

The ruling party had planned to hold demonstrations on Friday to show their opposition to the deal. However, the rally did not go ahead, although it was not clear if the media blackout had swayed the organisers.