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Four Radio Jonglei Staffers Suspended. Station Back On.

FILE: Undated photo of a radio studio microphone

Radio Jonglei was back on the air Tuesday after the head of South Sudan’s Media Authority ordered Jonglei State officials to lift their suspension of the VOA affiliate station imposed a week ago for not leading its May 16 news with the SPLA Day Celebration. But four staffers have been suspended.

South Sudan's popular "Radio Jonglei" is broadcasting again, but some of its key employees aren't. They've been suspended.

The four sent home are Radio Jonglei Director John Achiek , Station Manager Majok Guet, Finance Officer Matuor Mabior, and Chief Editor Deng Gai Deng.

The South Sudan Union of Journalists is calling on Radio Jonglei Executive Director Tijwok Aguet, to immediately withdraw the suspensions of the staffers, who were accused of breaching government procedures on May 16.

Aquet is quoted as saying the four "“mistakenly ignored the protocol of the leadership of the Jonglei state government” when airing news on May 16 that did not include the SPLA Day Celebration speech of the governor of Jonglei State.

"Suspension does not mean dismissal," he said. "The suspension is to take you out of duty, and you are also accessible for investigation because the investigation is like somebody going through a law in a legal procedure,” Aguet told South Sudan in Focus.

The journalists' union's president, Patrick Oyet, contends the suspensions are not valid since Executive Director Aquet, he says, failed to follow national labor laws.

“The CEO didn’t follow section 75 subsection 1, which says if your employee is doing work which you are not satisfied with then you have to inform your employee," Oyet said, adding "Sub-section 2 says you should provide training to this employee so that the employee can do the work to the level you want.”

Oyet went on to say “There is nothing called protocol. What is news is what we go by, so the reasons that the CEO is giving for suspending these journalists for us are not satisfactory.”

The journalists' union president warned “We have given up to seven days [notice] and if he doesn’t withdraw the suspension, we as UJOSS will instruct our legal team to take legal action because this is a violation of the rights of employees who are journalists and our members. We are not going to keep quiet.”