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South Sudan bans media interviews with rebel leader


South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar speaks during a briefing in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa April 9, 2016 (Photo Reuters/ Tiksa Negeri)

November 15, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government under President Salva Kiir has resumed a drive banning media organisations and journalists from interviewing and disseminating any material associated with the former First Vice President and the leader of armed opposition in the country (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar.

A high ranking security officer told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that “no media entity and journalist will be excused from the ban” until a review of the media policy is completed.

“There are orders and directives we have received from the above that no media is allowed to talk to Riek Machar and come and broadcast or print it out here inside South Sudan. If you defy these directives, then the violators will not escape the longest arms of the law. They will have to face the full force of the law," a security officer told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday .

“So be very careful you members of the media, especially those of you in the electronic media who do not comply with the policies of the government because you think you can not be reached. It is a false perception. The government has the longest arms to reach you”.

The officer whose assignment does not allow him to speak to the media in an official capacity said Eye Radio station was shut down for "promoting rebellion".

Citing the closure of Eye Radio, he claimed, some media do not comply with the directives and despite repeated warnings to observe basic ethics of journalisms during interactive public phone programs.

The management of the United States funded radio also admitted receiving information notifying them the cause of the closure of the radio is linked to the airing of a news clip from a press conference held by Riek Machar a month ago.

The operative says forced to take unilateral decision after the station failed to comply with the directives and warnings to cease interviewing rebel officials and stop doing talkback segments in their programs.

Machar, according to the clip said, "We did not see that there is an initiative from the region or the United Nations or the African Union to rescue the agreement. From our side the agreement has collapsed, or part of the government of national unity has collapsed since July events. We do not want violence.”

He was talking about his replacement and the muted regional response.


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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 15 November 2016 19:48, by Midit Mitot

    Baseless statement, have you ever-been allowing him to talk to the media since you had violated the peace process in Juba? I hope Juba security agents does not trained well. freedom of expression is in place every where, why not in South Sudan @Yaaaaaaaah forks.

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    • 15 November 2016 21:55, by Shadrack Nuer Machut

      I agree with security agents b’se media houses haven’t ceased indirectly inculcating violence since rebellion started. We all need & love news but not that triggers more violence & instability. Security agents shd too double their efforts to check all dark corners of public funds disappearances.

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    • 16 November 2016 06:21, by Akuma


      Any violators will be prosecuted for breaching South Sudan laws. Even US media houses didn’t interviews or broadcast Osama Bin Laden in their own country. So those who preaching regime in electronic, Prints and other mean of information will be deal with according to South Sudan media laws. All NSS officers are directed to executed the orders.

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      • 16 November 2016 08:15, by jubaone

        Who cares whether you ban or not. Important thing is that Riak and his group will keep hitting jienge regime. We are happy that the jienges have become paranoid and developed psychosis that borders depression and madness. Most can’t sleep well and even can’t do anything sensible for themselves. Just hangout as refugees for the rest of their jieng-lives.

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  • 15 November 2016 23:24, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Once again a wrong prescription to a political cancer South Sudan is suffering from. You need to get rid of insecurity, provide a clean non ethnic government, provide services and stop destroying human resources of South Sudan by implementing a useless war. Accept democracy and federalism and you will see change.

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  • 16 November 2016 00:42, by Naath


    Kiir and his JCE must understand that South Sudan with Riek or without Riek will never be stable unless Dinka’s tribal Chief kiir step aside. Kiir is real criminal, South Sudanese chronic disease, and visionless tribal chief who will never learn anything good in his own leadership. The only thing he know is killings, raping and looting of civilians properties.

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    • 16 November 2016 06:31, by Akuma


      Unless your Nuer tribe stop believing in Ngundeng prophecies that is where they will be consider as human being in South Sudan. They usual support dogs leaders who has no vision at all. Look your people are not having good services in the country because of your myopic behaviors otherwise they will treated as dogs

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      • 16 November 2016 08:40, by Mopedi


        What do you think people think you are and what do you think you are and what do you think South Sudanese think you are..... your comments does not featured all these therefore i better advise you not to abuse norms of webs

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    • 16 November 2016 06:34, by S. Sudan Nationalist

      While this is sad for freedom of speech in the country, there is also need for us to use the freedom of speech granted responsibly. Diplomacy in our dealings with a tense situation is all what is required. The objective is to include everyone in the debate.

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  • 16 November 2016 08:07, by Dengda

    SPLM rebelled in 1983 without media and had achieved it goal. Shutdown media and intimidate journalist will add fuel into burning fire. Again the government missed point. I am Dinka, I don’t know Riek and in 1991 Riek forces killed my great mum, uncles and wounded my father. But I am not focusing on that event, but my children future and that why I want change through ACRSS.

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  • 16 November 2016 08:46, by Mopedi

    If they stop journalists from interviewing rebels does not mean they stop the rebels from performing or pursuing a regime change agenda, they are interfering into legal profession of its own which require accountability and is punishable, we do care whether closing radio or keeping it open

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  • 16 November 2016 09:06, by real Dinka

    closing media house that have connection with the rebel leader is not the solution, why you allowed Riek machar not to arrest him rather than giving him a position?

    i feel not to say something about this government

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    • 16 November 2016 11:08, by jubaone

      What is the difference between an ISIS state led by Islamic idiots and South Sudan led by a illiterate jienges? Their leaders I have both black beards. One has a turban (hima), the other has a organized scars on his forehead covered by a black hat. That makes him twice as foolish as the one with only a turban.

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  • 16 November 2016 10:10, by Angelo Achuil

    I don’t think being heavy-handed on our few media houses will help because it will lead to more and more public frustration with gov’t for "Censorship is telling a man not to eat steak just because a baby can’t chew it" Mark Twain

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  • 16 November 2016 11:44, by Tilo

    Government should focus on how to gain people’s trust, rather than focusing on tarnishing freedom of speech, stopping publishing rebel news can not make any difference in the country. Implementing this new law can make government lose more supporter. (Is more harm than good to Government). Why can’t we accept the facts and find peaceful solution to our problem.

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