By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Six journalists working with South Sudan’s national broadcaster have been arrested in connection with a viral video that showed President Salva Kiir wetting himself during an official event, the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) said in a statement on Friday. This now clears the earlier claims that the Journalists who leaked the footage were killed by the system.
Footage by the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) showed the 71-year-old president standing during the national anthem at an opening ceremony in December in the capital Juba in which he appears to be urinating on himself.
Among those detained are director of the station’s control room, a content editor and several cameramen and technicians who were allegedly present during the filming.
Official sources at the Ministry of Information for the world’s youngest country said that the journalists were helping with the investigation.
UJOSS called for a “speedy conclusion to the investigation” by the National Security Service (NSS) in a statement, adding that the staffers had been arrested on suspicion of having “knowledge of the release of ‘a certain footage’ to the public.”
“If there is a prima facie case of professional misconduct or offense then let authorities expedite an administrative or legal process to address the issue in a fair, transparent and in accordance with the law,” union chair Oyet Patrick Charles said.
Reporters Without Borders ranked South Sudan at 128 out 180 countries in terms of press freedom in 2022, falling by more than 10 places from the 2021 index.
Kiir has been president since the country gained its independence in 2011. He has postponed presidential elections several times, with the next vote now scheduled for 2024.
It comes as leaders slowly implement a 2018 peace deal that brought an end to a five-year civil war.