South Sudan’s media regulator on Friday suspended the operations of the UN-aided Radio Miraya FM.
An official of the South Sudan Media Authority told newsmen in Juba that the radio station operated by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was suspended as it failed to obtain a valid broadcasting license.
Elijah Alier Kuai, managing director of the South Sudan Media Authority, said the government had asked the country’s communications authority to withdraw the radio’s frequency effective March 9.
Alier said the decision was taken after a two-week registration deadline elapsed.
“The Media Authority has suspended the operations of Radio Miraya 101 FM for persistent non-compliance and refusal to be regulated under the media laws in the Republic of South Sudan,’’ Alier said.
Alier said Radio Miraya journalists would not be allowed to cover events until the suspension was lifted.
He denied criticisms that the suspension amounted to media censorship.
“The Radio Miraya should operate legally as a media house in South Sudan.
“Even though they are under the UN, they have to be regulated,’’ he added.
However, a spokesperson for the UN mission denied the shutdown, saying the UN-operated radio is operating as talks between the world body and government continued.
“The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is in discussions with the government.
“Radio Miraya is continuing to broadcast across the country,’’ Francesca Mold, the spokesperson for UNMISS told newsmen.