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Community Media Policy and Sustainability forum concludes in Juba

By Khamis Cosmas Lokudu

Different managers of community media houses and journalists held two days discussions on media policy and sustainability of Community Media across South Sudan. The event was organized by community Media network of South Sudan with support from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Speaking at the event, Mr Issa Muzamil Sebit President of South Sudan Bar Association clarified that, section (5) of the Media Authority Act 2013 defines Community Media as media controlled by a non-profit entity which operates on a non-profit basis to a particular community that reflects the special interests and needs of that community. It’s managed and operated primarily by members of that community, he said.

In appreciative language, Muzamil said Community media puts the tools of communication into the hands of people in hundreds of communities, particularly women and marginalized groups. He expands his speech whispering that, Community media contributes to people’s empowerment to improve their social and economic conditions, fight against discrimination and racism, and become more effectively involved in the democratic development of their community.

In brief, few actions points were sketched during the two days forum, and the participants suggested that managers of Community Media and Journalists need to lobby and advocate for the following recommendations.  Community media should be exempted from paying taxes, Registration fee for community media should be lowered, Formation of appeal Board including press and broadcasting complain council should be lobbied, digital migrations need to move slowly so that South Sudan is not locked out, Community Media and security sector should have dialogue, Harmonization of relevant laws guiding the work of media in South Sudan should be pushed, one stock shop where all the other functions required for registration of community Media should be in one place.

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