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AMDISS, discusses challenges facing media

By Chany Ninrew

The Association for Media Development in South Sudan and representative from various media houses have convened a short consultative meeting in Juba to discuss and address the challenges facing the media fraternity in the country.

The meeting also discussed ways to enhance coordination efforts, improve information sharing and other standing challenges such as the welfare of journalists and the issue of media freedom in South Sudan.

Speaking in the meeting, Jackson Juma a member said the Media Authority which is a neutral body tasked with mediating journalistic cases is not doing enough to protect journalists.

“Media authority is the right entity which is tasked with solving the problems of journalists and media houses, but now when you look into the reality on the ground, you find that most cases of journalistic offence are solved somewhere else,” said Jackson.

He added that journalistic offences are supposed to follow a right channel, the press and broadcast complaint council of the media authority.

“But when we have a problem and its solved by an external institution and not in accordance with provisions of the law, that means we as media house managers should sit down and make sure the right procedures are followed,” he added.

Jackson also encouraged the government to treat all media houses equally, adding that their common purpose is to serve the citizens and the country.

“When we talk of media houses, let’s know that all of us are doing the same duty of bringing out the problems facing our communities but when it comes to workshops and invitation to cover events, there are specific media houses that are invited, what about the other private and commercial media houses, are they not serving the same community,” he asked.

John Wulu urged the station managers and advocacy bodies like AMDISS and UJOSS to expel those he called undercover journalists.

“There are people who call themselves journalists, but they are also working as security personnel or undercover agents you see, and it is very difficult to recognize such people, you will only recognize them on the day they commit an offence like what happened recently,” he said.

Wulu also vowed on behave of the community media to dismiss any individual who profess such characteristics.

However, Kanyanga John claimed that the media industry is losing well trained journalists to other fields on daily basis due to insufficient payment.

“For the past 10 years, I have been in the media in South Sudan and I have seen a big challenge that we might not be able to address immediately; how to maintain the staffs we have trained, you train me to work as a station manager, but when I get a well-paid job I leave, another person is appointed to take over, you still need to train that person, and in the end they leave.”

Kayanga added that if the challenges are not addressed, the success of the media is at stake in the country.

“We have colleagues who are now working as communication officers in different international organizations, these are media personnel who have skills in journalism but they have gone because they cannot sustain themselves,” he said.

He recommended that there is need for establishment of minimum wages to maintain staffs so that the media is seen as a career where people can be able to earn a living.

Among other resolutions, the meeting also called for the reappointment of a new board of the Media Authority citing to the expiration of the term of office of the current board.

 The Association for Media Development in South Sudan is a membership organization for media houses in the country.

It was founded in 2003 by editors and owners of leading media outlets with the cardinal aim of building professional journalism.

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