South Sudan bans journalists from covering government events

South Sudan Government Spokesman and Information minister Michael Makuei. COURTESY PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • The South Sudan Media Authority (SSMA) has banned UN Radio Miraya reporters from covering government events and ordered their arrest if they defy.
  • SSMA said Radio Miraya had defied registering with the regulator since last year.
  • But UNMISS maintains that the radio's operation remained guided by the Status Forces Agreement signed between the UN and the Juba government in August 2011.

The South Sudan Media Authority (SSMA) has banned UN Radio Miraya reporters from covering government events and ordered their arrest if they defy.

SSMA said Radio Miraya had defied registering with the regulator since last year.

A local Radio Miraya reporter, Mr Martin Sani, was on Tuesday held in Juba by the National Security Service (NSS) over a persistent dispute between the media regulator and his employer.

Mr Sani was apprehended at the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs while attending a news briefing by Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei.

Were confiscated

His phone, recorder and notebook were confiscated by the NSS members, who whisked him away to their headquarters.

SSMA in March ordered the closure of Radio Miraya over what it termed as persistent non-compliance and refusal to be regulated under the South Sudan laws.

The privileges

But United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) maintains that the radio's operation remained guided by the Status Forces Agreement signed between the UN and the Juba government in August 2011.

The agreement charged the South Sudan government to accept to implement the conventions on the privileges and immunities to all UN mission.

The South Sudan media regulator has been under criticism for heightened crackdown on press freedom in the young nation.

An earlier version of this story stated that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) spokesperson Francesca Mold said Mr Sani's arrest was orchestrated by the media regulator. However, Ms Mold did not make this statement.

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