NPR reporter freed in South Sudan after 3 nights in jail

May 1, 2017 GMT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — South Sudan detained an NPR journalist for nearly four days before releasing him Monday, a spokeswoman for the organization said.

Eyder Peralta has returned to his base in Kenya but his South Sudanese assistant is still being held by authorities, Isabel Lara told The Associated Press in an email.

“We are in touch with authorities regarding his release,” Lara said.

South Sudan officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Peralta’s detention was the latest in a crackdown on foreign journalists in South Sudan, the East African nation that gained independence in 2011 but has experienced renewed civil war. At least 13 foreign journalists have been denied media accreditation or visas to South Sudan so far this year. An AP reporter was detained and expelled from the country in December.


Media freedom in South Sudan was significantly restricted before fighting in Juba in July killed hundreds of people and triggered the civil war, according to a U.N. panel of experts report released earlier this month.

Since then, the situation for journalists has gotten worse, and some have been detained for publishing articles critical of the government, according to the U.N. report.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least five journalists have been killed in South Sudan since it gained independence in 2011.

South Sudan ranks 145th in a press freedom survey released last week by Reporters Without Borders.

South Sudan’s civil war began in December 2013, and according to U.N. officials the country is experiencing famine, ethnic cleansing and is close to genocide.