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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid