South Sudan’s Media Authority has ordered the suspension for 30 days of the Arabic language daily newspaper, Al-Watan, for operating without a valid license.The Media Authority summoned Al-Watan Editor in Chief Michael Christopher and ordered him to stop articles supportive of the anti-government protests in Sudan.
“This letter constitutes official notice of suspension of Al-Watan Daily Arabic Newspaper by the Media Authority for a period of 30 days with effect from March 27, 2019 for gross non-compliance with the licence and terms and conditions,” reads the letter of suspension signed by the Elijah Alier Kual, Managing Director of the Media Authority.
In his letter seen by APA reporter, Elijah further said the newspaper has been operating since 25 April, 2015 without a valid license in spite of repeated advices and reminders.
In his response Al-Watan Editor comments with a short post about the decision on his social media, Michael accused the S/ Sudanese authorities of seeking to punish for the support of the newspaper to the ongoing protest movement against the government of President Omer al-Bashir.
“They are still sticking to their position that I have to offer an apology to the tyrannical government and the tyrants in Sudan,” he wrote.
The South Sudanese media law of 2013 does not require licensing of the media and journalism in South Sudan they only have to meet the requirement of registration as a business. Only, TV or radion broadcasting services have to get such a license.
The opposition People Democrats Movement condemned the Media Authority ban Al-Watan for one month and accused the information minister Michael Makuei of imposing media and journalist licensing without parliamentary oversight descrobing ot as a ” grossly unlawful abuse of power”.