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South Sudan shuts down independent newspaper over comments

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August 4, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese security on Tuesday issued an order shutting down one of the independent daily newspapers, allegedly for covering opposition an conference critical of the way the issue of power sharing between the government and the armed opposition leadership had overshadowed fundamental reforms which sparked the current conflict in the country.

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A newspaper vendor in South Sudan’s capital, Juba (Photo: Cafod)

The move appeared to silence one of the few independent news outlets in an increasingly authoritarian state.

The newspaper’s editor said the action was a sign of the deepening political and economic crisis under President Salva Kiir.

Nhial Bol Akeen, editor in chief of the Citizen newspaper exclusively told Sudan Tribune Tuesday that government operatives ordered the paper’s shut down over publishing an opinion article in which he described the recent peace proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as a test waiting to see if the president would pass it.

“The security has ordered the closure of our paper. It is now closed. I went to them this morning and they showed a letter directing them from above to close down our paper. They just showed me the order but did not give the copy. In the order which I saw, there were only two charges,” said Akeen.

“ One charge was about the coverage of the conference held on Friday 31 by the alliance of 16 opposition political parties who are opposed to the way the issue of power sharing between the two parties have overshadowed fundamental matters which caused the conflict. The other charge was about the article I wrote saying the compromise proposal is a test the public is waiting to see whether president will pass [it], like the referendum, which he passed. Some people did not like it and I think this was why they closed the paper,” he added.

The alliance of the political parties’ conference, which the Citizen newspaper extensively covered, advocated for formation of the government of national unity to be managed by technocrats and headed by a prime minister and proposed that the functions of the head of state would be performed by a Supreme Council of five individuals.

The group advocated for the establishment of a Judicial Reform Committee (JRC) to review all the legislations governing the judiciary to guarantee its independence and competence from interference by other institutions of the government of South Sudan.

The veteran journalist described the move by government “an unprecedented assault on media freedom by a government that is terrified of media that offers alternative news.”

Media houses and journalists have been complaining of harassment, torture and even killing by government agents in violation of their freedom of expression and assembly.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 5 August 2015 09:16, by Redeemer

    Kiir Kuethpiny
    If the new proposal within was not covered and published where were you going to get such an information, you shot you own foot. When people walked out of Juba throwing their hands in the air, know that you will not have a place to stay in even in Akon

    repondre message

  • 5 August 2015 10:17, by Ayuen deng

    I think closing Citizen new paper is not enough,if the perpetrator goes unpunished or not jail for years this will turnout that Government is denying freedom of press in the country, so its better to jail those who broke the law of press to scare away those will try that again.

    repondre message

  • 5 August 2015 15:58, by Dengda

    I think Mr Ayuen Deng lack intellectual brain, he responses like his uncle Michael Makuei! Just like father and son don’t tarnishing our name.

    repondre message

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