Last week, Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), attended a press conference hosted by the Government to announce the lifting of restrictions on the Mission’s radio station, Radio Miraya.
The focus: To administratively resolve some misunderstandings and disagreements over day-to-day operations of the popular UN-owned radio station—Radio Miraya.
“This administrative lifting of restrictions of Radio Miraya and the confirmation of its 101 FM frequency will allow us to serve the people of South Sudan better with independent, impartial, and peace-focused broadcasts,” stated Mr Haysom at the event.
“This resolution is based on the registration of this radio, without prejudice to any of the UN’s rights under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). It allows and confirms the radio frequency in compliance with the domestic communications legislation,” stressed the top UN official, while appreciating the key roles played by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as well as Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services respectively, who jointly hosted the gathering.
Since its inception in 2006, Radio Miraya has been representing and broadcasting a wide spectrum of views and opinions from across this young nation, a fact acknowledged by Acting Foreign Minister, Deng Dau Deng.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation continues in its endeavors to ensure proper communication and coordination between the Government and UNMISS,” averred Minister Dau.
“Through effective partnerships, we believe we will always be able to find mutually beneficial solutions, as we did today,” he added.
More than 90 per cent of respondents to a recent, independently conducted perception survey said they believed that Radio Miraya is fair, impartial, and accurate in its reporting, which is vital as South Sudanese gear up to head to the polls in 2024.
“We will be using Miraya FM to disseminate the peace agreement, to disseminate the Roadmap, to disseminate plans for elections and keep our people informed, because Miraya FM is the only radio that is actually audible all over South Sudan,” revealed Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information.
In conclusion, SRSG Haysom underscored the importance of Radio Miraya in helping achieve South Sudan’s long overdue democratic transition.
“The importance of Radio Miraya cannot be overstated, especially as this nation prepares to organise free, fair, and credible elections in December 2024. We have been requested by the Government to render our support to preparations for the electoral process,” said Mr. Haysom
“We can agree that with the challenging transportation, communications, and logistical issues in most parts of the country, there is no way that there can be any effective civic and voter education without media platforms that reach the length and breaths of the country. UNMISS remains a partner for peace and intends to be part of the solution.”
Additional guarantees have been given that, contrary to earlier threats to take away the station’s long-held frequency of 101 FM, the same frequency is maintained for its operations.
Radio Miraya’s independence, impartiality, and ability to operate freely and without fear across South Sudan as the main news provider to the general public are reinforced by these developments.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).