18.02.2019 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

World Radio Day 2019: South Sudan committed to Radio Journalism and Freedom of Expression

Participants at the World Radio Day 2019 in Juba, South Sudan (c)UNESCO/Doreen Gunne Loboka Wudu

Under the theme: "South Sudan Peace Process: Understanding the Role of Radio in Promoting Peace, Dialogue and Tolerance", radio stations in South Sudan, journalists, presenters, listeners, CSOs, government officials and Media Development partners came together to commemorate World Radio 2019 in Juba, South Sudan

“Radio is a widely used and listened to medium in the country. The role of radio in peacebuilding cannot be forgotten in this country” said Hon. Justine De Mayen Undersecretary, Ministry of Information, Communication Telecommunication and Postal Services on World Radio Day -13 February 2019-, at Palm Africa Hotel in Juba, South Sudan. He further added that the government is highly committed to ensuring freedom of expression, radio journalism and safety of journalists.

Ms. Josephine Aciro, Chairperson for the Community Media Network in South Sudan, lauded radio personnel for their commitment in serving their listeners and communities and for continuously being messengers of peace in the country. She called on the government and media development partners to support sustainability of existing radio stations in the country while at the same time expanding the space for access to information by ensuring that more radio stations are established in each state in the country that has no radio station.

Ambassador Berhanu Kebede, Chief of Staff, Revitalized-Joint Monitoring & Evaluation Committee R-(JMEC), remarked that the media had a fundamental role to play in disseminating the R-ARCSS (Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan) across the country. The media has a potential of guaranteeing community engagement, participation and ownership of the agreement. While, Hon. Paul Bonju, Chairperson Information Committee at the National Legislative Assembly on the occasion added that the radio is a very powerful weapon that can be used to change the story of South Sudan. We can use the radio to drift away from negative speech, negative beliefs and portrayal about our society.

Acknowledging the importance of radio, UNESCO’s Head of Office and Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Saidou Sireh Jallow, on behalf of the Director General of UNESCO, stated that Radio is still one of the most reactive, engaging media there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate in the conversations that matter especially the most disadvantaged.

The WRD is a time to take note of the impacts that radio has had on its listeners. For instance, Ms. Abuku a listener from Juba, expressed joy when she talked about the radio. She said, “The radio is like my mother, dad and family. Through the radio we have become aware of the peace process and everything around us and if there’s no radio in South Sudan, nothing will move forward”. While another listener from Juba commented that; “The radio has been useful in disseminating Information, educating the public and correcting our mistakes. For instance, I now have an idea on preventive measures on diseases I did not know about but learnt through radio”.

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