Makuei denies crack down on critics, but cautions against destructive criticism

Information Minister Michel Makuei Lueth | Photo: File
Information Minister Michel Makuei Lueth | Photo: Gettyimages/ AFP

South Sudan’s government allows all citizens to exercise their constitutional rights to criticize the government, but does not grant destructive criticism, says Information Minister Michael Makuei in an interview with Radio Tamazuj.

“We don’t reject any constructive criticism, but our problem is destructive criticism which we don’t want. You find people discussing issues on the radio and are using destructive criticism. This is not good. You have a right to criticize the government or behaviors of individuals but not in a destructive way. If you criticize, you should come up with a solution [and] this is what is called constructive criticism,” said Makuei.

Makuei argued that it is only in South Sudan where critics speak ill of the government and go unpunished for their actions.

“There have been some reports about South Sudan that there is no freedom of speech or press freedom. This is not true. What is being reported in the newspapers nowadays can only be said in South Sudan. So those who are claiming that we don’t have freedom of speech or press freedom, what do they want?” he asked.

The senior government official said that a case in point is Adwok Nyaba’s recent interview on a local radio station when he was overly critical of the South Sudanese government

“Have you read the interview with Dr. Adowk [Nyaba]? His interview was published, broadcasted on radios. Such an interview cannot be published in a country that doesn’t have freedom of speech,” he said.

“So there is no way that journalists complain that their articles have been removed or so. Unless the writer was directly attacking someone and agitating at the same time. Even the agitating articles are now free to publish,” Makuei claimed.