Why South Sudan Authorities Must Reopen Nation Mirror Newspaper
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that needs to be universally protected”, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“The rights to Freedom of Expression and Access to Information are enshrined in Article 24 and Article 32 respectively of the National Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011”
The Nation Mirror is a prominent independent paper which started operating in South Sudan in July 2014.
On September 14, 2016, authorities of the National Security Service (NSS) in South Sudan arbitrarily shut down the Nation Mirror newspaper. According to management of the paper, there was no reason given by the security body for the decision.
However, according to local media, the paper was shut down after reporting on the Sentry Corruption Report on South Sudan. The Sentry report highlights acts of corruption by the President and top military officials in the country.
Prior to its closure on September 14, the security service ordered the Ganesh Printing Press to remove two articles from the Nation Mirror newspaper before publication on two different occasions. In a separate incident, the NSS reportedly demanded that the management of the newspaper either produce the writer of an opinion piece which the security service deemed critical of the government or risk being shut down.
This is not the first time the Nation Mirror newspaper has been targeted. In February 2015, seven months after the paper was established, South Sudan’s authorities closed down the paper for a period of eight months (February- October 2015).
The Nation Mirror newspaper is not the only newspaper to be shut down in South Sudan. At least three newspapers including the Citizen, Al-rai and Altabeer newspapers have been shut down completely in the country.
The NSS has the authority to scrutinize content of newspapers before publication and those who rebel risk being shut down. In most instances, the NSS does not give the exact reason for the closure of newspaper organisations.
Media censorship denies citizens’ their fundamental right to receive and impart information and ideas through the media as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We appeal to authorities of South Sudan’s Security Service to inform the public the exact reason and legal basis for the closure of the Nation Mirror newspaper.
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