PPF condemns South Sudan Media Regulator’s decision to summon journalist

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in a letter to Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan has expressed concern over summoning the Editor in Chief of Al-Watan newspaper by South Sudan’s Media Authority.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter, has termed it an act of censorship and called on the authorities to immediately withdrew the order issued to the newspaper and allow them to work freely.

According to the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), Michael Rial Christopher, the Editor-in-Chief of Arabic newspaper Al-Watan was summoned on January 7 for covering stories about the on-going protests in neighboring Sudan.

The regulator summoned journalist after a complaint by the Sudanese Embassy in Juba accusing the newspaper of supporting the ongoing protests in Sudan. On January 3, 4 and 7 the newspaper published three different stories about the protests.

On January 7, Sapana Abuyi, the Acting Director of South Sudan’s Media Authority further issued an order warning the newspaper to stop writing about the ongoing protests in Sudan as it is an internal political issue of a friendly neighboring country.

The letter also ordered the newspaper to publish an apology to the Sudanese Embassy within 72 hours, but the newspaper denied this order.

The citizens of Sudan were protesting against the poor standards and high costs of living in the country. This crackdown has resulted in at least 19 deaths and several injuries.