July 2014 (AWEIL) – The government of South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state vowed to arrest journalists who report on security issues, imposing censorship on media houses in the region.
The move came days after the caretaker governor, Kuel Aguer Kuel, allegedly ordered the closure of a community radio operating in its capital, Awiel for interviewing a state legislative assembly member whose on air views were considered critical.
A journalist working for the closed radio told Sudan Tribune that the caretaker governor instructed security personnel to hunt down all reporters working for the station.
“My life is now under security threat, they have been hunting for me since on Monday simply because they were informed by governor of my alleged interference with internal security of the state,” said the journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Authorities, he said, earlier warned him after he covered a strike by foreign traders in the region, reflecting the deepening row between the state and media.
“Again he [governor] warned on covering of rebel’s attack in the state saying he does not want it to go to the public, but instead be kept internally,” the journalist said.
The youthful scribe, now on the run, appealed for media bodies to condemn these threats and censorship on media houses in the border region.
In July last year, South Sudan’s national assembly successfully passed the entire media bills, only awaiting the president’s ascend. Last month, however, president Salva Kiir referred the same bill back to lawmakers raising fears of possible delays in passing the law.