Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed to learn that South Sudan’s government has for the past three days been blocking Internet and mobile phone access to two reputedly reliable news media.
Internet and phone users in South Sudan have not able to access the Sudan Tribune and Radio Tamazuj since July 17 because the National Communications Authority, which regulates the media, ordered them blocked.
Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth told Reuters that they were being blocked because their reporting was “hostile” towards the government.
“This blocking of two major news websites is intolerable and we ask the authorities to restore access at once," said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF's Africa desk. "Access to news and information is a fundamental right guaranteed bu South Sudan's 2011 provisional constitution."
The Sudan Tribune, a Paris-based news site, and Radio Tamazuj, an independent news radio station, are respected sources of news about Sudan and South Sudan that circumvent efforts by the governments of both countries to censor the media.
According to Radio Tamazuj, the South Sudanese government is using ZTE, a Chinese communications company and Internet service provider, to block access to both its website and its mobile phone service. However, its shortwave broadcasts can still be heard.
Adil Faris Mayat, the head of South Sudan’s state-owned national TV broadcaster, has meanwhile been detained for the past ten days without being allowed access to a lawyer.
South Sudan has fallen 20 places in RSF’s World Press Freedom Indexsince 2015 and is now ranked 145th out of 180 countries.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(c) 2017 Reporters Without Boarders