2 July 2013

South Sudan: Radio Station in South Sudan's Rumbek Resumes Broadcasting

Rumbek — Rumbek Catholic Radio Good News FM-89 resumed its normal broadcast on Tuesday after being ordered to go off air by the Lakes state government on Friday.

However, the station's program manager, Peter Mapuor Makur Malith, has been suspended without a reason being given.

The staff at the station allege that Mapuor has been suspended due to pressure from the Lakes state government. Various government sources have told Sudan Tribune that Mapuor's suspension paved the way for the broadcaster to be allowed back on the air. Security personnel are reported to have been instructed to monitor the radio station's output, which the state minister of information described as politicized.

Radio Good News staff say the decision to shut the down on Friday was an act of media censorship and another example of the "rough justice" imposed by caretaker governor Maj-Gen Matur Chut Dhuol, who was appointed in January.

A copy of a letter from Rumbek Catholic Diocese to Mapuor did not indicate any reason for his suspension but the move paved the way for Radio Good News to go back on the air after being off the air for nearly three days.

So far Lakes state minister of information and communication, Dut Makoi Kuok has permitted the station to reopen with only music.

Kuok told Sudan Tribune that Radio Good News has been allowed to resume but denied that state government had unlawfully forced them off air and claimed the government had followed "process" and "proper professionalism".

But the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) claimed that Kuok's actions represent an attack on the "heart of South Sudan's Constitution" which guarantees freedom of expression.

The human rights group accused Kuok of abusing his powers, not following the law and acting outside his mandate.

Rumbek Catholic Dioceses Administrator was allegedly forced to take the decision to suspend station program manager Mapuor to improve the chances for resuming normal broadcasting.

The Catholic Diocese of Rumbek's Fr. Fernando Colombo has described as false and misleading media reports the station was closed for spreading political messages. He has welcomed the station's resumption of broadcasting.

Radio Good News FM-89 is a part of the Catholic Radio Network operating in South Sudan.

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