South Sudan bars media from coverage of Sudan unrest

Tuesday January 8 2019

sudan protests

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Khartoum on January 6, 2018. PHOTO | AFP 

JOSEPH ODUHA
By JOSEPH ODUHA
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South Sudan authorities have banned media houses in the country from covering the unrest in Sudan.

The South Sudan Media Authority acting director Mr Sapana Abuyi said on Monday that the demonstrations in the northern neighbour, now in their third week, were internal affairs.

“The ongoing protests in Khartoum are internal issues affecting a friendly nation, the media in South Sudan should not write or broadcast instigative statements and comments about it,” Mr Abuyi said in a statement on Monday.

The order follows a complaint by the Sudan embassy in Juba after Al Watan, an Arabic newspaper in Juba, run articles deemed to be supportive of the protests.

The paper's Editor-in-Chief Mr Michael Christopher was summoned to explain the motive for publishing stories critical of President Omar al-Bashir's government.

The South Sudan media regulator also ordered the newspaper to publish an official apology to the Sudanese embassy within 72 hours.

Deadly anti-government riots have rocked major Sudanese cities including the capital Khartoum since December 19.

The government says 19 people, including two soldiers, have so far been killed, but Amnesty International says it has credible reports that 37 people were shot dead by security forces in the first five days.

The protests began following a government decision to increase the price of bread, but have turned political with demonstrators now demanding the exit of President Bashir.

Sudanese authorities have crackdown on opposition leaders, activists and journalists to prevent the spread of protests.

Juba fears soaring relations between President Salva Kiir and President Bashir.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011.

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