By ANDREW MELDRUM, The Associated Press
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Sudan's Media Authority has revoked the press accreditation of Canadian journalist Sam Mednick in response to a recent story she wrote for The Associated Press. The AP stands by Mednick and her story.
The South Sudanese officials withdrew Mednick's accreditation for six months, forcing her to leave the country. She was one of the very few foreign text journalists working in South Sudan.
This is the latest example of South Sudanese authorities cracking down on independent journalists, and is an affront to press freedom.
The South Sudanese officials objected to a story Mednick wrote earlier this month that said tensions were rising in the capital ahead of the formation of a unity government.
Mednick had reported from South Sudan for nearly three years. She chronicled the country's devastating civil war, the negotiations that ended the fighting and the current efforts to implement the peace accord by having President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar form a coalition government in which Machar would be a vice-president.
Mednick has also written about the problem of child soldiers in South Sudan, the plight of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the war and the conviction of army soldiers for killing a South Sudanese journalist and raping foreign aid workers.
"We are proud of the work that Sam has done to inform the world about the challenges faced by South Sudan," said Anna Johnson, AP News Director for Europe/Africa. "We hope that authorities will reconsider their action in order to allow her to return and continue this important journalism."