Bor, 28 August 2021; Authorities in Jonglei state with security forces briefly detained three journalists and shut down Jonglei FM Radio station on Friday, Authorities in Jonglei accused the FM station of collaborating with the People’s coalition for change, a civil activist group that has called for National civil disobedience and indefinite demonstration to force out the Transitional Revitalized government of National Unity headed by President Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar.
They planned to bring citizens on the streets of every city in the country starting from next week, 30 August. Since the group advocated to end the rule of the embattling President who is facing mounting pressure to implement the 2018 Peace agreement.
A coalition of civil society groups which comprises three main civil society organizations have urged citizens to hold nationwide protests on Monday 30 August, in defiance of the authorities, and called on the country's leadership to step down. Since then, Juba has increased the security crackdown on the supporters of the group, last week security from National Security Services have arrested former Nothern Bahr E Ghazal state governor and he remains in detention, he was arrested for signing the petition that called for both Kiir and Machar to step down.
On Friday Security forces from NSS stormed the compound of Jonglei FM, an independent radio station, and took three senior journalists, into custody, confiscating their phones and other devices before ordering the immediate closure of the Jonglei FM according to the sources.
"They took three staff of this radio station; one is the station manager, another is the program manager and the other one is the editor-in-chief", said Bol Deng Bol, executive director of Intrepid South Sudan.
Patrick Oyet, the chairman of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan [UJOSS] said the three detained journalists were released later in the day but the radio station remained closed.
The security officers had suspected the station wanted to "air something to do with the call by the people's coalition for protest", said Patrick.
"This is a wrong procedure and as UJOSS we condemn this procedure the security has taken," said Patrick Oyet.
Activist Bol said the incident amounted to "an attack" on media freedom.
"We get all information through radio stations; this is the main means for people to be served with the information they want. So, attacking this media house, shutting them down is an attack that we condemn," Bol said.
This came just days after Vice President James Wani Igga has called for media freedom in the country.
Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, Juba has intensified its efforts on cracking down on any media that is not pro-government, since then, journalists were either killed or arrested, ranking the country to be worse in the media Censorship in the Horn of Africa.
Simon Kur Peter