Cover Story

PROTECTION Partners ask gov’t to support journalists



By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

Media partners have called on the government to recognise and empower journalists in their respective working institutions. The comments were made during the International World Press Freedom Day yesterday in Juba.

The event was celebrated under the theme “keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law.”

Speaking during the opening session United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to South Sudan Mr. Sardar Umar Alam said that there was need to acknowledge and foster freedom of the press.

“Your participation in World Press Day is a sign of a commitment to foster freedom of expression and press freedom in South Sudan. But we need a solidarity more than even before, it is good to encourage and acknowledge the efforts, struggle, challenges and achievements of all the media stakeholders,” Alam said.

He stated that all countries that respect the rule of law relied on the existence of free independent press for its development.

“My director says that any state under the rule of law that respects individuals and human rights particularly the freedom of expression and opinions rely on free independent press data on operation. The idea of state under the rule of law call for vital form for citizens, transparent political decision, public debates on topic of human interest and more group for inter share opinion,’’ he stated.

He reiterated that the theme chosen for this year was an open relation to think evidently that the media was in relation with justice.

“The theme chosen this year is an open relation between media, rule of law and justice. It is also an opportunity to examine the new challenges regarding the freedom of press.  Freedom of press like any other is never complete and secure without the rule of law. The development of knowledge and information gathering requires maximum vigilant approach to secure transparency. Let us help the authorities in different ways to adapt their laws on the freedom of expression to the international standard,” Mr. Alam said.

He said that the protective mechanism for media outlets was to be developed to prevent impunity.

“We have to see the existing laws and come up with policies and implementation plan to tackle impunity, intimidation and improve the safety of journalists. We need to have an effective mechanism to protection based on the principles of human rights,” he added.

Head of the European Union Delegation to South Sudan, Amb. Stefano De Leo said that there was need to have linkage between the government, the rule of law and media.

“There should be a linkage between the Media and rule of law. Let us try to put this thing into relation. Strengthening and accountability to exercise power requires relationship between the people and power. There should be a linkage. Media, justice and rule of law are crucial tools in relation between the government and the people,” said De Leo.

The Chairperson of Board of Directors, Media Authority Molana Atong Majok Kur promised that the authority would always work for the welfare of the media.

“The media authority will always work on the development of the media. Development of the media will serve the public interests and build sense of responsibility,” she said.

Speaking during the opening session, the Chairperson of Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Mr. Oliver Modi said that the freedom of expression and opinions were cornerstone of any democracy.

“The media is a corner of any democratic country. The media is a vital voice of the people regardless of any background to bring peace. Journalists are vital parts in ensuring this happen. Therefore they must be able to operate freely without fear of harassment and threats,” Modi said.

He said that the report released by UNMISS s and UN human rights office acknowledged government and other stakeholders to promote conducive environment for freedom of expression and inclusive dialogue.

“Journalists have a vital role to play in promoting the awareness and keeping us in check as far as transparency of political services delivery, rule of law and accountability is concerned. We must all look within ourselves on how we can promote the work of journalists,” Modi stated.



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