Jonglei authorities say shutting down popular radio station was ‘totally wrong and illegal’
JUBA – The South Sudan Community Empowerment Organization for Progress (CEPO) is urging authorities in restive Jonglei state to bring Radio Jonglei back on the air, saying the closure of the popular radio station in state was “totally wrong and illegal”.
Last week, authorities in Jonglei State shut down Radio Jonglei, a community radio station, saying its editorial policy was against the government and inciting the public against their authorities in the state.
The closure of the radio station was not accepted even by the authorities in the capital Juba, with the National Media Authority (NMA) ordering the Jonglei government to reopen the community radio, saying its closure was not not justifiable.
In a statement, Edmund Yakani, executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), said he welcomed the media regulator’s decision to reopen the radio station.
“The South Sudan Media Authority, as a regulatory entity, has urged the office of the Minister of Information and Communication to lift the suspension of Radio Jonglei 95.9 FM,” Yakani said in the statement. a copy of which was forwarded to Sudans Post.
“Community Empowerment for Progress Organization welcomes the Media Authority’s call for the lifting of the suspension of Jonglei 95.9 FM radio station by the Honorable Minister of State for Information and Communication,” adds the press release.
Yakani said editorial errors that might appear hostile to the government should not be answered with the closure of community radio stations, saying this leads to the denial of access to information, as provided for in the transitional constitution.
“Any mistakes made by Jonglei 95.9 FM radio station should be handled in a way that does not result in the suspension of the radio station. Media mistakes should be dealt with without shutting down the media,” Yakani said.
“Closing a media outlet normally ends with a denial of public access to information, which will allow rumors to take the lead in shaping public opinion. This practice of shutting down a media outlet and removing media articles is totally wrong and illegal,” he said.
Yakani further stated that “it is time for the Media Authority to do more to protect the media. Recent positive actions by the media authority have indeed contributed to the improved ranking of South Sudan in the Reporters Without Borders media index.
“South Sudan is more likely to improve the rankings by exercising legal practice to mitigate disputes around freedom of expression, press freedom and the right to access information. An error by a journalist or media management should be used as an opportunity to shut down the media.