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South Sudan state TV director arrested and detained

July 15, 2017 (KAMPALA) – The director of South Sudan state television (SSBC), Adil Faris Mayat has been arrested after the station failed to relay a live broadcast of President Salva Kiir’s speech during the sixth independence day anniversary held on 9 July, his wife said.

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State-owned SSTV has been transformed into SSBC (File photo)

Security officials arrested Mayat in the South Sudan capital, Juba on 10 July.

Mayat, his wife told Reuters, acted so as "to avoid any technical difficulties (which) might appear during the live [speech] broadcast."

That move reportedly angered the country’s authorities, many of who viewed it as act meant to undermine the South Sudanese leader.

Officials from the government could not willingly comment on Mayat’s arrest.

In recent years, increasing reports of harassment faced by journalists in South Sudan have raised concern that the nation is reneging on the basic freedoms its authorities promised the population when the country seceded from Sudan after a referendum in January 2011.

Last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently ranked South Sudan as the second worst country in Africa and fifth globally in the impunity index, highlighting the failure to bring persons who kill or attack journalists to justice.

Since December 2013, over eight journalists have been killed in South Sudan.

Also, South Sudan government’s failure to pass legislation protecting the media has increased concerns about the state of press freedom.

(ST)