Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The government of South Sudan has blocked the website of Radio Tamazuj. Tamazuj is an independent radio station for South Sudan, which due to safety considerations produces programs from outside of the country. Since the beginning of the civil war in 2013, the government of South Sudan has silenced all independent local media in the country. As of last weekend, the websites of media organisations working from outside South Sudan are also blocked. Radio Tamazuj is founded and supported by the Dutch media development organisation Free Press Unlimited.

Radio vital for survival

Tamazuj continues to broadcast , so far the government has been unable to mute them. The radio station is vital for the survival of many South Sudanese citizens. Without any interference by the government, the station provides information on safety, political dialogue and community news. Moreover, many hundred-thousands from South Sudan have fled the country or are internally displaced. For these vulnerable citizens, victims of the continuous civil war, Tamazuj is the only source of information in their own language

Press freedom curtailed

Free Press Unlimited director Leon Willems: 'Blocking the coverage of Tamazuj and others is part of an ongoing process of curtailing press freedom. Curtailing access to life saving independent news and information is unacceptable. We will do everything we can to further safeguard the delivery of news to citizens of South Sudan. Our short wave broadcasts continue, our audience can still reach us through Facebook and Twitter and our newsletter service is maintained. We will not be muzzled.'

A string of muzzling

Journalists' lives are are in danger in South Sudan. In 2015, five journalists were murdered. President Kiir has publicly threatened to kill journalists and had newspapers and radio stations shut down. Tamazuj and Reuters recently reported on the fate of the national television station's director. After failing to broadcast one of Kiir's speeches, the director was arrested. Now, the South Sudanese government has also blocked the websites of other media, among them the Sudan Tribune. The National Security Service, which directed internet- and telecom providers to shut down the websites, refused a request to comment on the grounds of the measure.

Independent reporting

Radio Tamazuj is edited by independent South Sudanese journalists. The station uses short wave radio to broadcast in Arabic. Its content is not confined to violent conflicts and incidents, but includes reporting on health and social issues. The station is indispensable, not only for millions of South Sudanese, but for diplomats and NGO workers as well.