Cover Story

BBC Shutdown for accumulated debts

The logo of BBC photo from Google

By Rose Keji Benjamin

The South Sudan authorities yesterday confirmed the shutdown of the BBC relay stations in the country for not paying accumulated debts for the last three years.

The director of Media Authority, Elijah Alier said British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had signed an agreement with South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) for their operation in the country which the BBC did not respect.

“We don’t have any problem with BBC but they failed to fulfill their condition that was agreed before since 2005,” he told Juba Monitor in an interview yesterday.

BBC relay station in Juba on FM 88.2 has been off air for close to a week now.

According to the director of the Media Authority, the frequency was shut down due to operational license.

He said it was not shut down by the Media Authority, but by South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) which had raised concerns over lack of commitment by BBC to the agreement they signed years ago.

“They have agreement on equipment, operation and security,” he narrated.

The Managing Director for South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC), James Magok Chilim said the BBC did not pay their money for the last three years.

He said SSBC is a public operation body that BBC has agreed to operate with.

He said BBC was using their facilities since 2005 under an agreement signed with the former Minister of Information, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin to be renewed after one year but since 2015, they did not renew it with the BBC.

Mr. Magok said SSBC administration tried to write letters to the management of BBC recently but it did not respond.

“We will give them some time if they come back to us no problem but if they want to get another place to operate in, no problem,” Magok said.  We have written letters and up to now they have not come to complain for the shutdown of the station,” he added.

He called upon the public not to relate the closure to politics.



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