The guests cutting cake marking opening of the new television station yesterday
By Jale Richard
A new television station broadcasting on channel two on landline platform was launched yesterday.
The television station known as 360 Africa TV has been operating behind the scenes for the last one and a half years within the premises of the former citizen newspaper.
The new privately owned commercial TV station adds to two the number of television stations in South Sudan. The government owned South Sudan television broadcasts on channel one on the analogue signal.
The TV station started as a production company, but was later expanded in to a television station.
Jacob Gabriel the General Manager of 360 TV said the television would be broadcasting 24 hours every day after Zain mobile telecommunication company accepted to provide them with power.
He said the TV would be financially independent so that it remained so in its editorial policies.
“We did not get support from outside because we need this process to be owned nationally so that when we are talking we are not biased. When we are facing our leaders we are not biased. Our editorial policies are not influenced and we will continue to work towards that path,” Jacob affirmed.
“We want to be financially independent by all means so that no one influences our decision,” he added.
He explained that the TV station would strive for healing the division in the country; promoting respect for democratic values, supplying information that allowed citizens to exercise their rights and reflecting the rich diversity of the country.
However, Jacob anticipates future dispute between the station and the government given the nature of the job.
“There has been great historical work done by the media and the media personalities are threatened and some of them have paid with their lives to protect and speak out the truth. Today we are joining those heroes and heroines to speak the truth. We will stand to defend justice and we will stand to defend equality,” he emphasized.
Jacob appealed to the government to fight societal vices such as corruption, tribalism, nepotism together with the media saying “we are not your enemy, we are your partners in democracy; we are your partners in justice, we are our partners in human rights, we are your partners in service delivery and we are your in development.”
The Deputy Minister of Information, Telecommunication and Postal Services Lily Albino said the government did not have a policy of targeting or killing journalists, but said what sometimes gets journalists in trouble was not following their own code of ethics.
The Managing Director of South Sudan Media Authority Elijah Alier said the new station would help in enhancing media pluralism and the right of the public to know.
He said as the media authority they expected the new TV to embrace national unity, peaceful coexistence, and cohesion of the people in order to promote socioeconomic and cultural development in the country.
Alier added that the Media Authority was committed to creating conducive media environment with respect to human rights and freedom of expression in the public interest.
“I am happy to tell you that as of today there is no journalist in prison compared to other countries in the world where there are media issues. This means media is working for the interest of the country,” Alier stated.
However he said the media should be supported by the government and understood by the public.
Alier said media houses should build trust of the public by following professionalism and respecting their ethics.
The Media Authority director cautioned media houses on hate speech and incitement of violence.
“Hate speech lead to hatred, conflict, discrimination, lack of progress, it is unethical behavior that needs to be avoided by all means,” Alier said.