South Sudan Drafts Country’s First Editorial Guidelines
A three-day consultative workshop was held from 10 - 12 October 2016 in Juba, South Sudan by the National Editors’ Forum (NEF) with the support from UNESCO, to draft the first editorial guidelines for media houses. The workshop aimed at strengthening independence of media through developing editorial guidelines that will guide media houses to professionally deliver accurate, fair and objective news and information to the public. It also aimed at contributing effectively to the process of governance and democracy in South Sudan.
During the workshop, Ms Anne Nimiriano, the Managing Editor of Juba Monitor, said that “Editors have been practicing journalism with little knowledge of editorial guidelines and through this workshop, they have now been able to understand some terminologies that are not appropriate for use in newsrooms.” Martin Justin Paul, an Editor with the Equator Broadcasting Cooperation (EBC), also said that he appreciated the initiative because the consultative workshop has opened his mind as an editor and has given him a clear direction on how he can responsibly practice best journalism at EBC.
At the workshop, the Editors agreed that the drafted editorial guidelines are not binding like laws or enforceable like policies as they are subject to ratification and are created to serve as advisory guidelines. The media houses were informed that they are free to adopt and adapt the developed guidelines but National Editors’ Forum highly encouraged upholding of these standards by the media houses.
Participants were informed that by using the editorial guidelines, the media houses in South Sudan will foster shared values, continuity of the best professional practices and encourage freedom of speech, access to information and accountability in South Sudan. They were informed that it is only through the spirit of mutual understanding, collaboration and professional conduct that transformation of the media landscape and growth of robust media will be realised in South Sudan.
At the end of the workshop, the chairperson of National Editors’ Forum (NEF), Koang Pal Chang said that it has been noted that for efficient delivery of news and information media houses are required to diligently perform their work in a professional manner by following the developed editorial guidelines. This would promote accuracy and fairness in news and information delivery.
It is foreseen that the developed guidelines will offer practical advice, best practices and principles that will be embraced by the media sector in South Sudan. This workshop brought together editors to share their understanding of the editorial guidelines from the region, internationally, and from respective media houses in South Sudan.
This activity was organised within UNESCOs International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) which is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. UNESCOs IPDC programme will continue to provide support to media projects in order to secure a healthy environment for the growth and free pluralistic media in South Sudan.
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