United Nations Radio Station Reinstated in South Sudan: A Beacon of Impartiality in the Midst of Conflict
Reinstating Radio Miraya: A Welcome Decision
In a significant development, South Sudan’s media regulator has lifted the suspension on Radio Miraya, a United Nations-owned radio station. The station had been suspended since March 2018 due to allegations of violating local media laws. However, this decision was overturned recently, allowing journalists from the UN United Nations Radio service to resume their reporting on the government’s activities.
Michael Makuei Lueth, the Information and Communication, Technology and Postal Services Minister, confirmed the reinstatement, highlighting the importance of respecting the laws of the country where operations are conducted. He reminded that while South Sudan is a member of the UN and will abide by its regulations, it’s equally crucial for people to adhere to the laws of the host nation.
Operational License Granted
Elijah Alier Kuai, head of the South Sudan Media Authority, revealed that an operational license, valid for one year, has been issued to United Nations Radio Miraya. This move signifies a positive step towards ensuring the free flow of vital information within the nation.
Balancing Rights and Regulations
Nicholas Haysom, the special representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS, stated that the registration was carried out without prejudice to UN rights under the Status of Forces Agreement. This agreement, signed between the South Sudanese government and the UN in 2011, outlines the legal framework for the UN’s activities in South Sudan. Haysom added that the radio station will continue to provide South Sudan’s population with independent, impartial, and peaceful broadcasts.
Praise for the UN Radio Station
Deng Dau Deng, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, commended Radio Miraya for its pivotal role in disseminating crucial information during the referendums in 2011. The reinstatement of Radio Miraya is expected to enhance communication and information flow in South Sudan, a country that’s been marred by civil war and political instability.
Radio Miraya’s Role in South Sudan
Radio Miraya has been a significant source of information for the South Sudanese population. It offers news on the activities of various UN agencies and other political programs aimed at fostering peace. The station plays a crucial role in this young nation, particularly in the aftermath of the landmark 2018 peace agreement, which formally ended five years of civil war but remains fragile.
As South Sudan prepares for elections in December 2024, Radio Miraya’s reinstatement comes at a crucial time. The station will continue to deliver impartial, balanced, factual, accurate, and informative news and programs, contributing to the nation’s ongoing pursuit of peace, security, and prosperity.
Implications for the Media Landscape
The reinstatement of Radio Miraya signals a positive shift in South Sudan’s media landscape. This decision could potentially pave the way for enhanced press freedom and more balanced reporting in a country that has witnessed a heightened crackdown on media outlets in recent years. However, it’s equally important to ensure that this development is not used as a legal basis for censoring or shutting down the station in the future.
In conclusion, the reinstatement of Radio Miraya is a significant milestone for media freedom in South Sudan. As the country heads towards its next general election, the role of an impartial and independent media outlet like Radio Miraya is more crucial than ever. The station’s reinstatement is a beacon of hope for those advocating for media freedom and unbiased reporting in South Sudan.
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