The issue that caused The Nation Mirror's closure

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has today called on authorities in South Sudan to reopen the Nation Mirror newspaper, ordered closed by security services.

The newspaper’s editor, Aurelions Simon Cholee, said 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.

Cholee said that authorities ordered the Nation Mirror closed and did not specify when it would be able to resume publication. The paper’s website appeared to be last updated on September 13.

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In its most recent edition, the Nation Mirror covered a report by The Sentry, a Washington advocacy group, which alleged that President Salva Kiir and his rival, the former vice president Riek Machar, had amassed enormous wealth and invested it in multi-million dollar properties abroad, while a conflict triggered by a dispute between the pair has left many citizens in South Sudan living in poverty.

“President Salva Kiir’s government should immediately allow the Nation Mirror to resume publication,” said Murithi Mutiga, CPJ’s East Africa representative. “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,” he added.

Paul Jacob Kumbo, South Sudan’s director general of information, told CPJ he did not know why the paper was closed or how long it would remain shuttered.”This was a decision by the security officials and I am still waiting for more information on it,” he said.

The Nation Mirror has been closed before; in February 2015, the CPJ documented how National Security Service agents seized a print run and issued a publishing ban after the paper was accused of printing anti-government reports.
The media environment in South Sudan has deteriorated in recent months.

CPJ reported in July that the major daily, Juba Monitor, was ordered closed and its editor, Alfred Taban, was arrested after he wrote a column critical of both Kiir and Machar.