South Sudan journalists hope for media freedom

Published May 3, 2011

South Sudan journalists expect that a free and safe environment will be created for media personnel in their new country. “We hope that freedom of expression will be granted to journalists after the proclamation of the new country,” said Dengdit Ayok, a journalist attached to Al Masseer newspaper in South Sudan, on the sidelines of the forum organised to mark the World Press Freedom Day. “Hope the new environment will be free of torture, harassment and imprisonments for journalists,” said Mr Ayok, who himself has undergone many difficulties, including a 12 hour detention.

On 9 July, South Sudan becomes the world’s newest nation. A referendum to secede from the northern half of the country was approved by an overwhelming majority three months ago. But many issues remain, including a new constitution, allocation of oil reserves with the north and a territorial dispute that has escalated into a flashpoint.

Nyang Pal, the head of the English department of the South Sudan Radio, expects all issues to be solved smoothly. “We expect lot of changes to happen with more freedom for the journalists to carry out their duties,” he said. He also explained that there are many challenges faced by the broadcast media in South Sudan; especially due to lack of equipment the radio frequencies do not reach all the people. However, radio is the main communication medium for most South Sudanese.

Ayok and Pal are among the group of 20 journalists trained by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) in a print and broadcast journalism on basics of reporting. “It was a very good and unique training session and we have learnt how to work more professional way,” they said. The course was held for nearly 10 days, and the participants were trained and supervised by Judit Neurink and Hassan Rachidi, two renowned journalists. The participants were awarded certificated at the end of the forum held to commemorate World Press Freedom Day at the Sharq Village in Doha.

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