SOUTH SUDAN has suspended a United Nations radio station for allegedly refusing to comply with the country’s media laws.
Although the station has not yet been taken off the air, but the Media Authority, an independent body charged with regulating journalistic practices in the country, said on Friday, that it was shutting down Radio Miraya for “persistent non-compliance.”
They said the radio station was “not immune” to oversight.
“Radio Miraya opted not be regulated or questioned. They are operating in an environment of their own but they operate in the Republic of South Sudan where there are laws that need to be observed,” said Elijah Alier, the Media Authority’s managing director at a press conference.
Alier said they’re not trying to censor the station but rather they are monitoring it for “hate speech and incitement.” The government may not be able to take the station off the air because the transmitter is on the UN base in Juba.
Amid South Sudan’s 5-year civil war, which has killed tens of thousands and plunged parts of the country into famine, freedom of the press has also been under siege.
Last year, at least 20 members of the foreign press were prevented from entering or kicked out of South Sudan, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa.
Local journalists have been detained, beaten, threatened and denied access to information and newspapers are censored, according to local media bodies.
Reporters without Borders ranked South Sudan 145th out of 180 in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.