Media regulator suspends newspaper in Juba

South Sudan authorities have suspended a daily newspaper in Juba for allegedly refusing to comply with terms of operating license.

On Tuesday, the Media Authority, a government body charged with regulating the press, said it suspended Al-Watan Arabic newspaper for a period of 30 days because it had not renewed its permit.

The media authority cited "non-compliance with terms and conditions of license" under South Sudan's 2013 Media Authority Act as the reason for the newspaper's suspension.

In a statement seen by Radio Tamazuj, the media regulatory authority said the newspaper's license expired since April 2018 and that Al-Watan newspaper has disregarded several reminders by the regulator to renew the license.

The management of al-Watan Arabic newspaper is therefore ordered to cease publication of the newspaper or conduct any interviews, gather and publish any news within this period until it meets all the requirements for the renewal of its operation license, reads the statement.

Michael Christopher, the editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Arabic newspaper confirmed the renewal of the newspaper's operating license was incomplete.

The problem is not from our side. There were some delays from the taxation office when we were doing the process, but we have now completed the process, he said.

Christopher pointed out that he was working to meet the regulator's demands. However, he said his newspaper has increasingly come under strict scrutiny from the Media Authority, accusing it of targeting his newspaper for extensively covering anti-government protests in Sudan.

In January, the media regulator ordered media houses in South Sudan to refrain from covering protests in Sudan, saying the ongoing demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir were internal issues.

Privately owned media outlets in the young nation have increasingly come under control from the regulatory body since it was established in 2016.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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