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South Sudan president appoints media regulatory authority

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May 14, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has issued an executive order appointing media regulatory authority, whose membership includes officials of the national intelligence in the country.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Paul Banks/UNMIS)

The order broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Wednesday, named Kiir Chol Deng as the chairperson of the body and Joseph Abuk as his deputy.

Another decree appointed William Haisasa from Juba University as head of Broadcasting Corporation. Seven other members were also appointed to the board from different institutions.

The Media Authority and Broadcasting Corporation will regulate operations of both public and private media in the country, but critics throw doubt on its independence given polluted membership and tightening restrictions.

Rights groups have been warning of crack down on journalists by security forces, suffocating debate on how to end a civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed in the past 17 months of the war between pro-government forces and those loyal to former vice president, Riek Machar.

The leadership of the overdue Media Authority and Broadcasting Cooperation include government media, academic and legal representatives, as well security officers, said the presidential decree.

Media Authority, first of its kind since South Sudan became independent three years ago, was established after the president signed the media bill last year after many calls by journalist to establish the regulatory body.

This latest decision was announced after president Kiir held a meeting with information and broadcasting minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, who last week told journalists that security operatives must be given the power to arrest, detain and take to court reporters who write news the government sees false or infringing on national security.

The head of Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Oliver Modi, described the appointment of security officials on the boards as an infiltration and a mistake which denied independence of the bodies.

“The decision to include in the appointment members of the security was unwise. It was a mistake because, first of all, what is the security man going to do?”, he inquired.

He said it would be wise to enhance cooperation between journalists and the security by allowing the latter to come on their own if they wanted to monitor the work of the media but not to make them be part of the media authority.

(ST)

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  • 15 May 2015 07:34, by hamil

    They are borrowing China’s press censorship policy Citizens are suffering in the 10 states and yet to be hit hard by imminent famine which seems unavoidable and here we have a dumb, uneducated and drunken president who doesn’t care about the mess the country is thrown into. Instead of finding ways to deal with the problem at hand Kiir is worried about the media.

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    • 15 May 2015 11:17, by Mayom County Boy

      Am asking why those who were been appointed to media house by president all are from Dinka tribes ?
      is it because there are no other people with in south Sudan tribes who know media house regulations or it is because those who are on power are Dinka ?

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    • 15 May 2015 17:53, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      The new police officers who were appointed two days ago and these two are from Warrap and Northern Bhar el Ghazal? my question is, is this government tribal or regional?

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      • 15 May 2015 21:10, by Ito

        Lotodo, I congratulate you today for now coming to know the reality that this government is tribal and Salva is more tribalistic. You always support government and we warn you at each time and now today you have seen the truth. Salva appointing Dinka all along. Welcome to Dinka Kingdom

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        • 15 May 2015 21:31, by Lotodo Awino Odug

          The president should share his government with allies from within or else he will be left to fight his enemies alone.What is his reward to Ngok and Bull who are dying supporting his government.

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  • 15 May 2015 11:29, by hamil

    Good question @Mayom County Boy. They think if they have a Dinka in all high ranking positions in South Sudan it will keep them in power forever. The same thing was done by so many world leaders including the great Roman Empire but still they crumpled. Leadership is God given this is one fact they don’t know but it should not be used to divide people and practice segregative tendencies.

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  • 15 May 2015 11:42, by Bauer

    Cry South Sudan! Cry My beloved motherland! Cry the People of South Sudan.Every news you read/hear about South Sudan is always bad fighting decrees & whatever. You can never hear anything good from Juba. Why the hell will the president want to be the chairman of the media body? Isn’t this true dictatorship now? Soon alcohol consumption will become compulsory for all citizens.Sudan as one was bette

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  • 15 May 2015 12:47, by Angelo Achuil

    Our president doesn’t understand that he is destroying this country by his endless "decrees"? where is the participation of masses and the parliament at least? Where is our security & future if we live at the the whims of one man? Every month we can’t predict decrees coming!

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  • 15 May 2015 16:07, by hamil

    If our leaders really want to determine the level of desperation in this country they should visit each home and see the hunger stricken poor people and how they are suffering. In some homes people feed just once. What is the point of fighting to liberate people and then make them suffer again? What is so difficult in giving peace a chance to prevail again in S.Sudan?

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  • 15 May 2015 16:11, by hamil

    Salva Kiir is being brain washed by Paul Malong, his current cabinet and the la makers. I used to like our President so much because of his humble heart but by 2012 and 2013 that fondness disappeared becasue of trend of evils which he kept a deaf ear to e.g the corruption,land grabbing, killings, tribalism, and unlawfulness which he could not condemn.

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  • 15 May 2015 16:15, by hamil

    South Sudan is yet to see more misery among the citizens the signs are there many peole will be starved to death across the whole Nation. Even those who pretend to defend and like him will suffer too. I don’t care who rules this country but what South Sudan needs now is someone who can unify this country and heal people’s wounds and bring services close to people through comprehensive development

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  • 15 May 2015 16:20, by hamil

    across all the ten states. South Sudan is officially a failed state. These endless and dubious decrees will not solve the mess we are in, media censorship will not end this war the world is already aware of the mess and damage caused in the country there is nothing there to hide from the eyes of the world. The word "PEACE" has been mentioned by every citizen endlessly but no one cares

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    • 15 May 2015 17:28, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      Does the president knows that his new appointees are all from Bhar El Ghazal? except one from Equatoria, all the main pillars of Government are from your region sir; where are you going with this robbery and others are dying supporting your government! Do you also know that the foreign affairs ministry is also left to your region because of harassment by illegally appointed kids?

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