By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan’s media authority has suspended the UN – run known as Radio Miraya and ordered its frequency to be switched off in the country, citing failure to comply with directives to register in accordance with the provision of the media regulatory body.
This was announced in the press conference on Friday by Media Authority, asked the National Communication Authority to withdraw the frequency 101FM assigned to the UN radio station for non-compliance with conditions set for acquiring licenses for operation in the country.
The media regulatory body established by the government said the popular radio station should stop broadcasting with effect from today (Friday, March 9, 2018).
The media regulator accuses the UN- backed radio of non-compliance and refusing to be regulated under the country’s media laws.
Mr. Elijah Alier, managing director of the South Sudan Media Authority told a news conference that the radio station operated by the United Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS has failed to obtain a valid operation license.
Alier further says Radio Miyira journalists will not be allowed to cover stories until the suspension is lifted.
He denies criticism that the suspension of the radio station amounts to media censorship.
“This is to inform the public and media houses that the media authority has suspended the operation for persistent non-compliance and refusal to be regulated under the media laws in the Republic of South Sudan,” letter reads in part seen by Panafricanism.
According to the Media Authority’s suspension letter, the decision was taken following notifications starting on June 2017, September, 2017, November 2017 and February 2018.The management of Radio Miraya, the letter alleges has failed to respond in what authorities equate to violation and non-compliance with the media authority orders.
The suspension also came after the Country’s Information Minister and Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, who then sanctioned by the UN, had been threatened to shut down the station, earlier saying he would not be afraid to close down the UN-owned radio station meant for peace building.
However, UNMISS spokesperson Francisca Mold says the management of Radio is till in talks with government and that UN – radio will continue to operate.
Since the conflict erupted in 2013, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the government lead by President Salva Kiir have not been good terms, government has several accused the UNMISS of supporting the country’s rebels lead by former first vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
According to a UN human rights report released last month, Press freedom in South Sudan has been affected by the ongoing conflict.
In July 2017, South Sudan’s authorities said blocked access to some websites such as Sudantribune, Radio Tamazuj, Paanluel and others accusing them of “hostile” reporting.
In the aftermath of conflict, journalists in South Sudan were often complain of harassment and arbitrary detention by the security forces.
According to the Media Authority Act 2013, no one is allowed to provide broadcasting services in the country without valid license.
Moreover, the media body earlier this month, prevented a journalists who have not registered with them to cover a press conference held by the country’s Information Minister.