Feb 21, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has received assurances from the Government of South Sudan that they will not shut down the operations of the UN’s Radio Miraya.
In a statement made available by the UN’s communications team to Nyamilepedia, the UN has since held a press conference at its New York headquarters to allay fears of possible closure by the South Sudan Government.
The UN says, “The Head of the UN Mission in that country (South Sudan), Ellen Margrethe Løj, met the country’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting and expressed her concerns following his remarks about shutting down operations of Radio Miraya – the UN radio operating in that country,” The statement read.
The statement further says, “Ms. Løj received assurances from the Minister that Radio Miraya broadcasts will continue according to UNMISS’ mandate and as stipulated in the Status of Forces Agreement signed between the UN and the Government of South Sudan,” the statement emphasizes.
This week, South Sudan’s Information minister and Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, stunned media in Juba when he warned that he would shut down the United Nations’ Radio Miraya in Juba for broadcasting views of South Sudan’s rebels.
Makuei issued the warning and said he would put into writing his warning to the UN’s Radio Miraya management. He said he was not afraid to close down the UN radio station.
Makuei’s olive branch to the UN has, however, not been extended to local media in South Sudan. According to the renowned international Committee to Protect Journalists, Press freedom in South Sudan has deteriorated significantly since the country gained independence in 2011.
Journalists in South Sudan face rampant detentions, harassment and constant intimidation. The number of publications and media houses either closed down or facing closure is staggering for such a country.
Although South Sudan’s rebels don’t fare any better when it comes to treating journalists, analysts now believe that the media crackdown in South Sudan is fast beginning to resemble the outdated and repressive media tactics of Khartoum in the North.