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Information Minister promises to work closer with Media

By John Agok

The newly appointedMinister forInformation and Communication in CentralEquatoria State has revealed his layout policies and priorities on how to create an enabling environment for media fraternity.

Speaking to Juba Monitor on phone yesterday, he  pledged to work with media without singling out some media houses and be accorded with respect as others are branded as foreign media agency with attached malicious contents and motives.

“All media must be treated with respect and equal right, whether electronic, print or broadcasting regardless of being private or public media outlets. We should not function as the government without media, because it is the fourth arm of the government and government cannot stand on its own”. He explained.

He echoed that Media should be givenan opportunity to access information in all public offices as this is a fundamental human right and constitutional right to avail information from public offices to public and which isalso stipulated in the bill of right.

“Access to information Act, categorically allows public office holders in giving acquired information to any media and disseminate such information to the public,

I am going to bridge the gap between State authorities and Journalists and also assured (them) protection”, he underscored.

Lukudu is a new state Ministerforinformation who came through OtherPoliticalParty (OPP) ticket in a presidential decree on Saturday for Central Equatoria State.

His appointment into office of Information and communication sparked a lot of attention from quarters of media practitioners with enticements and they are trusting Lukudu as media personality prior assuming the post in state government.

“I am a media friendly person who is almost in contact with all media houses in the Country. I do not have strained relationship with all media houses that I had worked with before my appointment into this office. I am optimistic that all media outlets will be cooperating with me. I know journalism is not a crime and nobody should mistreat journalists in doing their work”, he concluded.

This uplifts the hope for media friendly environment and removes previous hindrances between the media and the government”. He concluded.

Questions and answers:

Q. What are your priorities as the new information Minister for CES?

Ans. First and foremost, I would like to thanks the public for their patience in this long-awaitedState Government formation. I also extend myappreciation to OPP for trust they bestowed upon me.

I would ensure that, media friendly environment will be created between government and the journalists. You count on the fact that I have been working with media prior to my appointment as the Minister. I am almost in contact with all media houses and they know that, I am Media friendlyperson. I will provide a conducive environment to all journalists and my office will be open to all media practitioners.

Transparency and Accountability will prevail to access information to the public. This is the birth of good governance and democracy in the modern society. Our state government will be providing such space for the media to do its own work in a given free atmosphere.

“I am going to bridge the gap between state government officials and the Journalists, unlike those days whereby journalists were isolated from authorities which hindered information from the public. I will ensure the protection of journalists as they continue with their work”.

I must make sure that, those working with Central Equatoria State Government provides any information regarding public consumption to the journalists.

Q.What will you do to stop segregation in Media, for example, considering SSBC over other Media outlets in the Country?

Ans.I will not segregate any media, be it broadcast or print media in their profession as long all are disseminating the information to all public domain.

There is no particular media house intended to be followed by the public. All media houses are for public consumptions whether electronics or both print and broadcast media. We as the government are bound with one fundamental right, which is right of access to information.

Media as the forth arm of the government; it is pretty significant that, my ministry will ensure the free flow of information without impediments to all journalists.

I consider media as vital to the functioning of the Government and without media; government cannot stand on its three feet.

“Let the journalists feel free to contact me as soon as I assume the office after my swearing into the office. I will soon layout policies for the media to access information in Central Equatoria State Government offices”.

Q. How would caution the government officials who only appreciate the presence of SSBC among other Media?

Ans. I will use the same personal relationship with Media I had with them before my appointment. I understand that, journalism is not a crime. Why could we subject them to strained relationship or having bad feelings with media outlets.  

We will respect every media house with equal appreciation in the name of ladies and gentlemen of the press. Actually it is not really good to mention few and leave out the rest of invited media house.

Q. Which model will you lay out for free and fair media operation in your State Government?

Ans. I will ensure that, all journalists will be treated with equal rights and no segregation to some media houses: whether, private media or government media. We will make sure that, they all have access to information in all Central Equatoria State government offices.

My ministry will have channel of communication to media and avoid challenges that face journalists. I know in the era I spent working with most journalists, they are really hustling to get information from public offices. Some of them do footing and toiled to collect information from relevant authorities.

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