South Sudan: Lakes State Suspends Editor of State Radio Station

Rumbek — The news editor of Radio Rumbek FM-98, John Madol Panther, has been suspended after allowing the broadcast of items that had not been approved, according to Lakes State Minister of Information and Communication, Charles Badiri Mayen.

Panther, was suspended without pay from 9 November, according to Miraya FM, the UN radio station in South Sudan. Miraya FM has reported that he was suspended because he hosted Daniel Awet Akot the Deputy Speaker of South Sudan's National Legislative Assembly.

While on air, Awet condemned recent fighting in Lakes State which has claimed over 20 lives. Miraya FM reported that a Panther will remain suspended until a disciplinary board looks into the issue.

However, Information Minister Badiri said that allegation broadcast by Radio Miraya are lacked information. He justified Panther's suspended saying that he had allowed a number of programmes to be broadcast without authorization from his direct boss, Acting Director Peter Maliap Chieng

Badiri described Pather's suspension as an "administrative procedure and it must continue". He said that if national MPs and ministers wish to talk on state radio they are accompanied by the state information minister. This was a show of respect, he said, and should not be left to junior staff.

The state minister said that the Acting Director of Radio Rumbek FM-98 had given him information that showed beyond reasonable doubt that Pather should be suspended.

Badiri said that as an editor and not presenter Panther was not allowed to present a program or to host any guest. He was also not supposed to be on duty that night but took over from the presenter to host the Deputy Speaker.

He noted that "necessary measures will be taken against Panther", adding that "this is the third suspension for Madol in the Ministry apart from explanations and warning letters given to him" by state information ministry.

Despite taking the move the minister said that Lakes State was "friendly" towards any media who wasted to visit South Sudan.

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