March 9, 2018 / 3:20 PM / 5 months ago

South Sudan's media regulator suspends U.N.-owned radio

JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan has suspended the operations of Radio Miraya, which is owned by the U.N. Mission in the country, for failing to comply with media laws, the media regulator said on Friday.

Media outlets in South Sudan have increasingly come under threat and tight control from the regulator since it was established in 2016.

Elijah Alier Kuai, head of regulator South Sudan Media Authority, accused the station of “persistent noncompliance and refusal to be regulated under media laws of South Sudan.”

He said the station had failed to respond to several queries over the years, including the violation of the terms of its broadcast licence. He did not give further details.

The UN Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) spokesperson Francescal Molde said that they were discussing the issue with the government and that they were still on air.

“Radio Miraya is continuing to broadcast across the country,” Molde said.

The station provides news on the activities of various U.N. agencies to the public in South Sudan and political programs aimed at fostering peace.

South Sudan has been racked by an ethnically charged civil war since late 2013, pitting forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against rebels linked to former vice president Riek Machar.

Some local media organizations have been shut down over failure to observe the regulator’s demands. Last year 20 foreign journalists were barred by the media authority from entering and reporting in the country.

Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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