Discussing the role of journalists in creating political and civic space necessary for productive dialogues was the focus of a two-day training in Bor, Jonglei state, facilitated by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
With the world’s newest nation gearing up for peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections while efforts to draft its permanent constitution are ongoing, 30 participating members of the press and civil society found the workshop to be timely.
“The sessions and conversations with fellow journalists refreshed my mind and reminded me why I chose to be a part of the media fraternity,” reveals Apajok Ajak, one of the 6 women journalists at the forum.
A wide range of concerns were debated including the role played by the media in shaping a democracy as well as knitting communities together.
Free and frank discussions on ethical journalistic practices, promoting accountability and upholding human rights through reportage took place.
Participants were appreciative of the UN Peacekeeping mission’s efforts to bring these important issues to the fore.
“We have had problems with many journalists misunderstanding their role at this critical moment in our country’s history,” reveals Majok Guet Kuol, Chair of the South Sudan Union of Journalists’ Jonglei chapter.
“Most of the time, such travails occur due to a lack of training on ethical reporting, and we are very glad UNMISS has taken the time to guide us through some overarching, internationally accepted media standards. If we don’t have this information, we can become our own worst enemy as journalists,” he added.
Civil society representatives present agreed with many of these observations by media persons.
“When accuracy and truth inform a journalist’s work, they empower civil society to ensure that urgent public needs are suitably addressed by the powers that be, and that the rights of every woman, man and child are upheld,” averred Victoria Yom, Director, Voice of Women, a civil society organization that advocates for the promotion, protection, and fulfilment of women’s rights.
Minister of Information and Communication for Jonglei, John Samuel Mayom, echoed his sentiments.
“We are grateful that our partner for peace in South Sudan, UNMISS, has held this important workshop and are confident that journalists from Jonglei who attended the sessions are empowered with skills that will enable them to report the news in an unbiased and ethical manner,” he stated.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).