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JUBA - 1 May 2017

South Sudan closes Al-Jazeera English-language bureau over report on rebels

South Sudan government through its Media Authority suspended local operations of the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera English in the capital Juba and barred its crew from covering any activities across the country until further notice.

The Media Authority was created under a bill signed into law in 2014. Its members, including representatives of the National Security Service, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, were appointed by President Kiir.

Al-Jazeera English recently aired a report on displacement of people in Kajo-keji County as a result of fighting between government troops and opposition fighters. The report further said the area of Kajo-keji is largely divided between South Sudan government and the opposition.

Multiple sources told Radio Tamazuj today that the Managing Director of South Sudan’s Media Authority, Elijah Alier Kuai, wrote a letter after seeking permission from the Nation Security Service to the office of the network’s English channel in Juba to stop covering any events or airing live interviews in the country until the issue is resolve.

“The Media Authority through the National Security Service has stopped Al-Jazeera English from broadcasting anything to do with South Sudan until the issue is resolved. We don’t know until when but it seems the government is not happy because the report exposed its loss in Kajo-Keji county,” one of the sources said.

“What I know is that Al-Jazeera English crew from Uganda came to Kajo-Keji County and conducted exclusive interviews with rebel groups that are fighting the government there. It is not actually Al-Jazeera South Sudan that conducted the interviews, but because it is the same institution,” he added.

Officials at the Media Authority could not be reached for comment.