November 12, 2016 (JUBA) - Eye Radio news clip for former South Sudanese First Vice President and leader of the armed opposition Riek Machar played last month triggered the closure of the radio station, its management disclosed on Saturday.
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a press conference in his private residence in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Photo AP/Mulugete Ayehe)
The National Security Service (NSS) ordered the immediate closure of the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) funded radio on Friday without providing a reason for the move.
Eye Radio prided itself as independent news provider in South Sudan.
A journalist familiar with the case told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that NSS management later told Eye Media, the parent company of the Eye Radio, that the station broadcast Machar voice on October 13.
"I think they (NSS) are referring a voice clip recorded from interview gave to Al Jazeera TV," the source said.
According other sources in Eye Radio, the news clip from Machar had called for peace, "not war. We thought it was a possible news because it did not called for renewal of hostilities."
Stephen Omiri, Chief Executive Officer of Eye Media, told reporters that he will meet NSS director on Monday and hope that the radio will reopened after that formal meeting where specific warnings might be made, he said.
Media advocacy group, the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) condemned the closure.
"The closure of Eye Radio is arbitrary and amounts to brute force censorship of a vital source of independent news for the people of South Sudan," said Murithi Mutiga, CPJ’s East Africa representative
Mutiga called on authorities in Juba to cease intimidation against media and journalists and called for reopening of Eye Radio.
Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth declined to comment when contacted on Saturday, claiming he has no instruction to close the station.