Editorial

Why do politicians think journalists are beasts?

Since the attainment of independence from Sudan in 2011, reporters in South Sudan have been facing a myriad of problems going about their jobs, especially while covering government officials or top celebrities. South Sudanese politicians have turned their back on their journalists, the people they always seek whenever and wherever they are campaigning for their posts. Politicians need media practitioners to make their CVs, to build their legacies and do Public Relations work for them. All these are done at the expense of a journo’s brilliance to mess with a pen and paper. Journalists in the country are always subjected to harassments and threats whenever they approach some politicians for coverage. A common phenomenon is where some politicians demand for introduction letters or the so called “request letter,” even after a reporter has shown an Identification Press Card from his/her media house. This is “becoming unbecoming.” When politicians need journalists, the door is always open. No strings are attached. The doors to the media houses are always open from the Red Carpets outside to the black carpets inside. In democracies, the role of the journalist is supposed to be to inform the public debate so that the audience can make educated choices. The role of politicians is supposed to represent those who elected them and to ensure that the concerns of the electorates are listened to, considered, and, where appropriate, acted upon. In such a political system, the journalist should act on behalf of the audience to ensure that politicians do their job. The journalist should be exploring and covering the issues that most concern their readers and listeners. In doing so they should include a diversity of voices and political opinions in order to offer the richest and most complete coverage possible. If they achieve that, they are more likely to offer journalism that enhances understanding and encourages dialogue and debate.

 

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