South Sudan: Government blocks access to independent websites

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South Sudan’s government has blocked access to numerous independent news websites, according to internet users in the country.

Dutch-backed Radio Tamazuj, as well as popular news blogs Nyamilepedia and Paanluel Wel are among the sites confirmed to have been blocked. It’s not yet clear how many sites have been blocked in this latest effort by the South Sudanese government to control media reports.

 

Independent sites blocked

Radio Tamazuj is a Dutch-backed website that reports on events in South Sudan, openly criticising the government for the country’s ongoing security crisis. French-backed website, the Sudan Tribune has also been blocked by the government, prompting criticism from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and other groups.

 

Despite the criticism, South Sudan’s government insists it is justified in blocking access to websites. South Sudan’s Minister of Authorities, Michael Makuei Lueth, claims the government is protecting its people from “disseminate subversive material”.

He told CPJ the bans will not be lifted until “those institutions behave well”.

 

Government suffocating media

Earlier this week, South Sudan’s National Security Service arrested Adil Faris Mayat, the director of the country’s state run television. His wife says he was arrested for failing to air President Salva Kiir’s Independence Day speech.

Media outlets and journalists are regularly targeted by security forces in South Sudan. In 2015, five journalists were killed in targeted attacks; no-one has faced criminal charges for any of the killings.

South Sudan ranks 145 out of 180 countries on ReportersWithoutt Borders World Press Freedom Index, dropping 34 places since the country was first founded in 2011.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.