Debate on media’s role in good governance in a post-referendum South Sudan Print

Posted: 29 November 2010

Region: Juba, South Sudan

The Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) in cooperation with the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) organised a roundtable debate entitled ‘Will my voice be heard in the new South Sudan? - The Role of Leaders and the Media in post-referendum South Sudan’, on 26 November 2010, in Juba, South Sudan.

At the roundtable, politicians, experts, journalists, civil society representatives, as well as representatives from international NGOs, UN agencies and the British and Dutch governments discussed how the needs of rural communities throughout South Sudan can be heard by those in power, how the government plans to communicate with rural communities and address their needs, and how the media can play a role in facilitating this process.

‘In a truly democratic society, which post-referendum South Sudan is envisaged to be, journalists are expected to turn the traditional pyramid upside down and instead of focusing on the top - political decision makers - they should look at the basis - the voters – those whose lives are affected by the decisions made at the top’, said MDI’s Executive Director Milica Pesic, and added:

‘As much as citizens need the media to provide them with enough facts to make informed decisions on whatever is happening in their societies, thessroundtable political leaders too need to be informed on what the electorate need them to do. The media are a perfect bridge to pass this information’.

The roundtable was opened by a prominent World Bank expert Albino Okeny Olak, and acclaimed UK / Sierra Leonean film maker, Sorious Samura, presented his concept of journalism which empowers ordinary citizens, in particularly those marginalized by poverty.

The event also marked the launch of ‘The People’s Voice’, a newspaper supplement designed to give a voice to the ordinary people of South Sudan, which will be carried in leading South Sudanese newspapers throughout 2011.  The supplement and the roundtable debate are components of an 18 month project funded by the EC Delegation in Khartoum.