Cover Story

Radio played a crucial role in S. Sudan independence

By: Martin Manyiel Wugol, Juba Monitor Kampala Bureau Chief

In the world of information, the radio played an instrumental role in the struggle for the independence that gave birth to the Republic of South Sudan.

As a young person growing up back in mid 80s, radio was the only source of news of military victory against Sudan armed forces through voice of late veteran journalist Alfred Taban and that was my first motivation to accept novel profession of journalism in my life.

Radio was only the medium of communication before the emergence of the internet handy with a dangerous phenomenon called “Fake News” by encouraging citizens journalism or yellow journalism in the media industry whereby citizens report news which are not either balance or authentic by any standard because the availability of the internet and smartphones at the hands of African people and South Sudan in particular made it extremely worse and possible to quickly reach out wider audience compare to coverage Radio and the other regulated media outlets can reach the masses out there in the society.

I still believe in the power of radio because radio is and continue to be the only best tool used to send out reliable information. I dedicated this world’s Radio Day commemoration to late Mzee Alfred Taban, veteran journalist communicator who inspired me and other young people in South Sudan and the world to love journalism with passion.

 At a personal level I was privileged to be a journalist working with Juba Monitor English Daily Newspaper founded by late Alfred Taban himself. That made me witness the passing on and repatriation of Alfred Taban body back home to Juba for his befitting and dignified burial in his ancestral home.

Above all, the success South Sudanese people enjoy today was only heard from BBC radio through late Alfred Taban on BBC focus on Africa and the program I entirely loved with all my heart. Alfred would wake us up to listen to what late Dr John Garang de Mabior have to say  about military confrontation with Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and surprised attack and finally the capture of so many military garrisons and military bases in South Sudan and those good news could be heard on the radio nowhere else courtesy of late Alfred Taban may his soul rest in peace.

Based on my personal conviction and desire toward radio, I have a feeling that nothing in the world can supersede the power and relevancy of radio in terms of information dissemination. While the internet and print media have few challenges with journalists bearing the bran, radio remains a reliable medium of communication reasonably cheap and affordable to all people, particularly in rural communities.

As we all know, the 13th  of February was the world Radio Day internationally celebrated.  Therefore, I used the day instead to remember the fallen veteran journalist late Alfred Taban and other heroes and thank them for opening our eyes to know the power of “Radio” in giving out information to people in the entire world.

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