It has been five days since South Sudanese authorities blocked access to selected news websites because they published content the government considered as “subversive”.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Friday issued a statement calling on South Sudanese authorities to “immediately unblock the websites of at least four media outlets”.
Public web users in large portions of South Sudan have been unable to access the news sites of Paris-based Sudan Tribune and Dutch-backed Radio Tamazuj, as well as the popular blogs Nyamilepedia and Paanluel Wel.
CPJ said Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth admitted that authorities blocked access to the sites on Monday for publishing content that was “subversive”.
His ministry has authority to block websites.
Lueth reportedly said the South Sudan government was justified in blocking the websites in order to protect citizens from outlets that “disseminate subversive material”.
He said the bans would not be lifted until “those institutions behave well”.
CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said: “Censoring news and intimidating journalists is becoming increasingly common in South Sudan. The government should immediately unblock all news sites and blogs”.
Michael Duku, an official with the press rights group Association for Media Development in South Sudan, said the sites had likely been targeted for their critical coverage of the government.
Sudan Tribune Editor in Chief Mohamed Nagi said: “We see this decision to block websites as a new attack on the press freedom in the South Sudan”.
– By ANA