South Sudan lifts ban on Arabic newspaper 'Al-watan'

Wednesday September 4 2019

South Sudanese look at the daily newspapers

South Sudanese look at the daily newspapers on April 27, 2016. Authorities have lifted a ban on Arabic daily 'Al Watan'. PHOTO | AFP 

JOHN ADUKATA
By JOHN ADUKATA
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South Sudan has lifted ban imposed on Arabic daily newspaper Al-watan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the South Sudan Media Authority said that the publication had completed the renewal of its operational licence.

"The Media Authority has therefore lifted suspension and authorised Al-watan Arabic daily newspaper to resume publications with effect from September 5, 2019,” reads the statement.

Last month, Al-watan’s editor-in-chief Michael Christopher was freed from a detention facility in Juba after being detained for over a month without charge.

In January, the Arabic publication was also barred from covering unrest in neighbouring Sudan. The regulator, at the time, said that demonstrations in the northern neighbour were “internal affairs’’.

South Sudan media outlets and journalists are often the target of government officials, especially when highlighting human rights violations and abuse of power.

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At least 10 journalists have died in the line of duty since 2011.

Several media outlets have also been shut down by the government for critical coverage of the country’s affairs.

The country ranks 139 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index by advocacy group Reporters Without Borders.

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