Media Authority urges gov’t to promote freedom of expression

By Elia Joseph Loful  

The South Sudan Media Authority urges the government to freely shape the image of media by promoting freedom of expression across the country.

The Managing Director of Media Authority Elijah Alier said it was primarily the role of the government to improve the media for the interest of the citizens.

 “It is now the primary responsibility of the government to shape the country to the image of South Sudan we want,”Alier said during the opening of a two day national media roadmap police training workshop yesterday in Juba under the theme “Strengthening media and police relations in South Sudan” organized by South Sudan Media Authority in collaboration with Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) supported by Global Affairs Canada.

Alier said media is powerful for the public to share their opinion with a potential influent.

“The media has a power to nurture public opinion with the potential influent that leads to better development decisions, essential for peace and to safeguard territorial integrity,” he said.

He said the training seeks to equip participants with media regulatory compliance mechanisms.

Alier called upon the police to keep community safe by bringing the offenders to justice saying it was their role to maintain law and not to harm.

He said media stakeholders have the moral obligation into protecting the image of the country from damaging information.

Alier revealed that media reporting in the country has significantly improved since 2017 coupled with the introduction of national dialogue adding that ethnic hate speech reporting has likewise dropped.

“Ethnic based, “Hate speech”, reporting has also reduced from legally recognized media houses, with exception of some parallel hostel media houses such as Radio Tamazuj and Sudan Tribune,” Alier revealed.

The Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology and Postal Services, Lily Albino Akol said there has been tension between media and the security. She said journalists should daily follow ethnic reporting stories.

She added that the police should show good image to the media and ensure that there was a genuine will to protect the public.

Lily urged the police officers to maintain high respect to the citizens and their property since they act as public relations officers.

“The Police in general are very close to the people. For our own safety it is the police, you need to show trust towards the citizens since you are the public relations officers,” Lily said.

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