JUBA – Chinese telecommunication company, ZTE, is reportedly threatening to sue South Sudan’s Media Authority over its failure to pay over $10 million outstanding fees that the government owes the company for helping the government in blocking ‘hostile’ news websites in 2017, according to senior official of the government media regulator.
In 2017, South Sudan government with the help of the Chinese company blocked four news websites including Sudan Tribune and Radio Tamazuj, after it repeatedly accused them of favoring the country’s opposition in their reporting. Those websites have denied the government claims amid growing calls from the international community for the government to respect press freedom.
In June 2020, the government also blocked access to Sudans Post in several areas in Juba. A Swedish non-profit media operator moved Sudans Post website to their secure hosting and deployed mirror to circumvent the illegal government blocking.
Speaking to Sudans Post this morning, a senior government official working at the South Sudan Media Authority said the government hasn’t paid $10,017,200 that it promised to pay the Chinese firm to keep those websites offline in the country.
“This is a problem because they are threatening to take us to the caught. We asked the government to pay those money because the plan to block those websites came from the government but the government hasn’t paid the money to the company,” the official said on condition of anonymity.