Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

The media industry is breaking the ice by starting to realize the importance of existence. At the Regency Hotel yesterday journalists converged for a day’s symposium with panelists and moderators from well backed up institutions. My friend Paul Jacob, the director of Information in the ministry graced the occasion which was organized by the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), Association of Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) National Editors’ Forum, Eye Radio, Juba Monitor Newspaper, and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) with support from United Kingdom and UNESCO. Panelists of the morning session included Odongo Odoyo, Victor Keri, Dr. Geri Raymondo, Oliver Modi and Koang Pal with Edmund Yakani as the moderator in the topic of, media Ownership: is the media independent in South Sudan, mechanism to strengthen media freedom and independence across the country. Since both myself and my editor in chief were there, l did not wait for the afternoon session, but one thing from the floor was very clear. The practicing journalists and those under-going training need a lot of media exposures because of the lack of adequate understanding of media laws. The encouraging thing is that most of them accept the need to learn and be exposed to the betterment of the industry. Going by questions that came from the floor, it was encouraging that someone was trying the level best to have media industry put in the right perspective of growth. The floor full of the quest for more wanted not a one day gathering and requested that in future there should be enough consultation by the organizers to have first-hand needs of journalists in the country. There should be more of this type of symposium with purposes to bring together players in the sector and for journalists to know one another. I remember sometime back when l started my journalistic career almost 35 years ago there used to be professional clubs bringing the media fraternity together like the editors’ forum. Journalists should not be secretive and should be formed out of the office clubs and meeting places to come together to know who is who and where at what time. It is encouraging that the government is already supportive of the growth of the sector and wants journalists to act and perform their chores responsibly. This is not asking too much. The journalists should equally reciprocate by working within the profession code of conducts and ethics. What the journalists do not want is harassment and intimidation by the security organ or any individual. The setting up of the media authority is what they appreciate most because cases of being summoned by individual institutions had decreased but there was still more to be done to ensure safety of journalists in the country. There must be channels to follow when dealing with journalists although it is true that some of them go out of their way during their official assignments. Such cases should be dealt with firmly with the media house if found out to be true.

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