South Sudan’s media regulator has ordered the UN-operated, independent Radio Miraya station off air for refusing to comply with the country’s broadcast laws, Amsterdam-based Radio Tamazuj reports.
Radio Miraya broadcasts 24 hours a day on FM and three hours a day on shortwave in Juba, in both Arabic and English.
It was launched in 2005, and its initial aim was to support implementation of the peace agreement that marked the end of the long conflict between northern and southern Sudan.
The media regulatory body says the popular radio station should stop broadcasting with effect from Friday.
The management of Radio Miraya, the regulator alleges, has failed to respond in what authorities equate to violation and non-compliance with the media authority orders.
For his part, an unnamed UN official told Radio Tamazuj that the decision to suspend the radio service violated an agreement between the government and UN.
“Radio Miraya is operating under the UN Mission in South Sudan, not under the Media Authority,” he said.
The Status of Forces Agreement signed by the UN and South Sudan’s government protects Radio Miraya’s operation according to international treaties.
In July 2017, South Sudan’s authorities blocked access to four news website including Radio Tamazuj, accusing them of “hostile” reporting.
Journalists in South Sudan often complain of harassment and arbitrary detention by state security forces.