National, News

South Sudan gov’t lifts barriers on UN’s Radio Miraya

By William Madouk

South Sudan Media Authority, a body that regulates the media industry in the country has lifted a ban which was imposed on the UN-owned, Miraya FM, 101 radio station.

According to the media regulators, the station has been on the government’s blacklist since March 9, 2018, for non-compliance with local media laws and refusal to be regulated under South Sudan laws.

But Radio Miraya continued to operate without disruption despite the suspension order.

Minister of Information Michael Makuei criticized and echoed his directive to stop Radio Miraya reporters from covering government functions across the country and declined their accreditation.

Addressing the media in Juba on Thursday, Elijah Alier Kuai, Managing Director of the Media Authority, said the suspension order and restriction imposed on Radio Miraya are now lifted as of August 3, 2023.

“This is to inform the general public, government institutions, media houses, NGOs, and UN Agencies that the Media Authority has lifted the suspension order and restriction on Radio Miraya FM, effective from Thursday, August 3, 2023,” Alier said.

The Media Authority boss said the government has officially allocated 101 frequency and operational license valid for one year free of charge to Radio Miraya.

Mr. Alier said they remain committed to promoting freedom of expression and media development as fundamental human rights in accordance with South Sudan’s media law.

The media authority also acknowledged the concerted efforts taken by the Ministry of Information and the acting minister of Foreign Affairs in reaching a political and diplomatic solution over the issue of Miraya.

For his part, Ben Dotsei, UNMISS Chief of Communication, said, “I have nothing special to say, but we are glad to reach this point where Radio Miraya staff can continue to work freely, independently, and impartially.”

Michael Makuei, Minister of Information, said journalists working for radio Miraya are now free to cover government events and functions across the country.

“Just to conform to the rules and regulations of the state, yes, we are members of the UN, and if we are members of the UN, then we will definitely abide by whatever is done in the UN, but people should conform to the laws of the country in which they are operating, and that is all. It is a free service; registration is free; frequency is issued free; and thereafter, you operate freely,” he said.

Also, the Head of the UN Mission (UNMISS), Nicholas Haysom, said the registration of Radio Miraya was under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between the government and the United Nations in 2011.

“The resolution is based on the registration of this radio without prejudice to UN rights under the Status of Forces Agreement. It allows and confirms radio frequency in compliance with domestic communication legislation,” said Haysom.

“This administration’s formalization of Radio Miraya allows us to serve the people of South Sudan better with independent, impartial, and peaceful podcasts,” he added.

Many radio stations are registered with the Media Authority, but Radio Miraya was covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between the government and the UN during independence.

Radio Miraya provides news on the activities of various UN agencies to the public in South Sudan and political programs aimed at promoting peace.


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