South Sudanese authorities have been urged to reopen the Nation Mirror newspaper which was closed after carrying a story on the corruption report relating to the president and other top officials.
The paper’s editor, Aurelions Simon Cholee, told Reuters that security officials summoned editors and accused them of “engaging in activities that are incompatible with [the newspaper’s registration] status,” but did not offer further explanation.
But the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Friday called on the authorities to immediately reopen the paper, adding that the country needs more journalists to build a democratic and stable nation.
Preventing professional journalists from doing their work will not advance efforts to build a democratic and stable South Sudan.
“South Sudan needs more, not fewer, independent and critical voices. Preventing professional journalists from doing their work will not advance efforts to build a democratic and stable South Sudan,” a CPJ statement read.
“President Salva Kiir’s government should immediately allow the Nation Mirror to resume publication,” said Murithi Mutiga, CPJ’s East Africa representative.
In its last edition, the paper covered a report by The Sentry, a Washington-based advocacy group, which alleged that President Salva Kiir, former vice president Riek Machar and other top officials had benefitted financially from the war in the country.
According to the report, they had amassed enormous wealth and invested it in multi-million dollar properties abroad, while a conflict triggered by a dispute between the Kiir and Machar has left many citizens in South Sudan living in poverty.
The publishers have said that authorities did not specify when it would be able to resume publication. The paper’s website appeared to be last updated on September 13.