News / Africa

Silenced South Sudan Radio Station Told to Ax Political Programs

Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity and Jonglei states.Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity and Jonglei states.
x
Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity and Jonglei states.
Catholic Bakhita Radio was shut down and its news editor arrested after it aired a story about fighting in Unity and Jonglei states.
Philip Aleu

The radio station in Juba that was raided by South Sudan security operatives over the weekend has been ordered by the government not to air political programs. 

The director of Bakhita Radio, Albino Tokwaro, said most of the station's programming is about religious and health issues – but its listeners are also very interested in politics and it will be hard to stop airing programs without some sort of political angle.

 "What is politics? The whole human being is political --  whether you are in a church or you are not in a church, you are a political being,” he said.

Bakhita Radio is owned by the Catholic church in South Sudan. One of its shows is the popular morning call-in show, Wake up Juba, where listeners interact with guests in the studio. The guests often happen to be politicians.

Michael Thon, the former host of Wake up Juba, said he was threatened twice after he dedicated one-and-a-half hours of a show in December 2012 to the slaying of political commentator Isaiah Abraham. Abraham was gunned down by killers who, nearly two years later, have not been identified.

“I asked ... do the public respect police? Do they help the police to give them information that would help them when they are providing security? Do the police respect the people? And the police leadership was not happy. The police came looking for me," Thon told South Sudan in Focus.

"They were furious... 'Why would you wake up Juba and discuss the institution of the police without contacting them?'” he said.

Thon said he offered the police the right to reply on the show. He thinks that was the reason he was not arrested.

He felt afterwards as if, "I was being supervised... and I had to be careful on what goes on air, It has to be what truth is and it has to be in public interest so that i can only defend myself in the court law.”

Thon said the arrests of journalists and the closure of radio stations is an  indication that the media is operating in a hostile environment. But he urged journalists to continue to abide by the rules of their profession and report impartially, objectively, accurately and fairly.

“They should continue to be the bridge between the people and the government,” he said.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told South Sudan in Focus on Monday that the story that led to the closure of Bakhita Radio and the detention of four staff members, including news editor David Ocen, breached national security because it blamed government forces for triggering fresh fighting in Jonglei and Unity states by attacking rebel positions.

Three of the Bakhita staff members were only held for a few hours but Ocen remained in detention for four days. Bakhita Radio was still off the air Wednesday - the keys to the station are reportedly still in the hands of national security officials. 

Tokwaro said when the station goes back on the air, editors will carefully scrutinize stories to avoid the possibility of them being perceived as a threat to national security.

 

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sanya kenyi from: Juba
August 21, 2014 3:31 AM
"Media operating in hostile" said Michael Thon. It seems S.Sudan has invented another unpopular Journalism principles, & now grappling to imposed on Media operatives without question.Will that work or worsen the situation? Food for thought.


by: mabior Mayen Jok from: Australia
August 21, 2014 1:57 AM
For safety of our soldiers in the war zone. Government have Wright to arrests any journalists who aired where they are . second to that. radio Bahkita should be the one to promote peace among the people. Not to take one side by side with that evil call Riek who believe killing human is what God wants.


by: Anonymous
August 21, 2014 1:03 AM
censorship of the press in 21st century, what a shame!


by: Arok da Amou from: Juba
August 20, 2014 5:04 PM
ocen don`t run like former colleague, michael Thon.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid