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JOHANNESBURG – Michael Christopher, the chief editor of South Sudan’s Arabic newspaper Al Watan, has been stopped from leaving the country on the grounds that he published content that was critical of the government.

Christopher was recently forcibly removed from a Kenya Airways flight bound for Nairobi by officers from South Sudan’s National Security Service at Juba International Airport, who according to the East African were acting on the highest authority.

The senior journalist, whose passport was confiscated and has yet to be returned, was due to attend a workshop in the Kenyan capital.

Al Watan was suspended in March by the South Sudan Media Authority regulator after it was accused of non-compliance and operating without a license.

Christopher was also previously targeted and forced to apologise for covering anti-Omar Bashir protests in Sudan where at least 10 journalists have died since 2011.

Journalists critical of the South Sudan government are often targeted by government officials especially when they focus on abuse of power and human rights violations.

African News Agency (ANA)