ALEX MOSES (SMITHFIELD) Agamlong Newspaper, the Juba-based truth-teller has been shut down by agents claiming they were acting on authority from the Directorate of the National Security. It is the second time the paper has been closed down by the Security Services citing unfounded claims.
Speaking on phone with the Northern Corridor Morning Post Chief Atem Gai de Dut, Agamlong Editor Simon Machuor explained that people claiming to be Security Personnel sent by the National Security headquarters came to Universal Printing, the production contractor of the veteran paper and stopped the printing of the 31st-morning edition.
According to Machuor, when he furthered propped why they were taking such unexplained action, the personnel brushed it aside and did not elaborate on the matter, settling instead on a vague and basic explanation that the paper was shut until further notice by the Director of South Sudan National Security service.
It is unclear under what mandate the National Security Services took such drastic action on a newspaper. South Sudan is a Representative Government and not a Military Dictatorship but some of the actions of the Security Services over the years have been less than appealing.
In the Constitution, in times of war or civil unrest, the National Security has the right to confiscate property, shut down the publication of propaganda machines and take other actions deemed to be within the confines of public safety. The public safety clause, however, has, by and large, become a rudimentary tool for gagging the public and those who speak the truth and expose official misconduct.
The Agamlong Newspaper is known for being bold and able to report on news other papers cannot dare touch because of fear of repercussion. It is possible that select power players in various capacities have reduced the National Security Service, a critical public safety apparatus, into a puppet organization at the disposal of the highest bidder.
With such censor, a Representative Government such as South Sudan runs the risk of descending into unexplained failure because most people with authority cannot seem to make up their minds on whether South Sudan is a Democracy, an Oligarchy, an Absolute Monarchy, a Military Dictatorship or everything else in between.