The New Sudan Vision has learned from a reliable source that the state-owned SSTV, the only main South Sudanese channel, may not broadcast via satellite because it hasnít cleared its bill with Arabsat. It costs South Sudan about a million dollars annually to keep the TV channel on satellite, which is popular with the diaspora.

Many Southerners from around the world will be glued on to SSTV this Saturday, when South Sudanís independence is declared. Its suspension would likely be met with anger and widespread discontent. The TV administration has already notified concerned authorities about this. However, the bill has not yet been paid, said the source, who declined to be named because of fear of reprisal.

A warning was issued by Arabsat about a month ago about the overdue arrears, the source told The money has been approved but it has not yet been released, he added. The official blames red tape for the inaction.

SSTV faces many challenges. It lacks the funds to hire qualified staffs to direct its programmes. Currently, the channel operates with only one functioning studio, for broadcasting and production. In order for SSTV to improve, it needs to be set up as an independent corporation with its own independent budget, the official added.

July 4th, 2011 - 13:34 UTC
by A.Sennitt