Breaking News: South Sudan’s Chief of Defence Force, Gen. James Ajonga Mawut Unguech dies today, 4.30am, at a military hospital in Cairo, Egypt, after a long illness. 

img_0931

SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen James Ajongo Mawut

SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen James Ajongo Mawut Unguec

img_0932

3C01F01D-78B0-4C98-9583-AED25F575838

Malong Awan, and Malual Ayom, and Ajonga Mawut

Gen. Malong Awan, Gen. Malual Ayom, and Gen. Ajonga Mawut

Kiir, Ajongo, Kuol, Wani, Awet

Awet Akot, Wani Igga, President Kiir, Kuol Manyang and Ajonga Mawut, the exhausted veterans of the SPLM/A war of liberation

Kiir, Ajongo, Kuol, Wani, Awet, Malual Ayom

Kiir, Ajongo, Kuol, Wani, Awet, Malual Ayom

Gen James Ajongo Mawut UnguecGen James Ajongo Mawut

Obituary: Tributes to the SPLA’s Chief of General Staff, Gen. James Ajonga Mawut Unguec Ajonga

By Dr. Jok Madut Jok, USA

April 20, 2018 (SSB) —– I had a really special moment with General James Ajongo Mawut Unguec Ajongo when I interviewed him on video in 2002 at what was called “peace market,” in what was Aweil North County at that time. Then, Northern Bahr el Ghazal as a whole was living in uncertain times, a mix of euphoria of an impending peace between South Sudan and Sudan and continued violence. Susan Rice had visited Marial Baai and al-Bashir government bombed the town hours within her visit. It was later said she was the target, for Khartoum’s wrath against Washington. The Machakos Protocal had just been signed and an air of potential peace was hovering overhead. The Baggara Arab Murahileen had pleaded for peace so that they can access both grazing/water and the peace market, south of the Kiir River. But once the rains started, they attacked the area, all the way to Majak Baai on the river Lol, as they were retreating to their areas in South Darfur. I discussed all these with Comrade Ajongo, then young, vibrant and thin as a rail and one of the most revered and respected SPLA officers, mainly for his courage, leadership and goodness of heart. Many of his soldiers told me that comrade Ajongo has never had a meal by himself for as long as they had known him (this, for those who knew SPLA in those challenging times will understand the meaning of an SPLA officer “not eating by himself”).

Cde Ajongo, by the time I met him, had engaged both the Sudan Armed Forces and the Murahileen, in hard and testing battles in the region, but who remained resolved and committed, making war for those who have never been in it sound like a picnic in the park. His name was only comparable to that of another equally determined officer who went by the name Paul Malong Awan. Ajongo was mainly dealing with the Rizeiqat in Aweil West and North and Malong in Warawar facing the Missiryya in Aweil East.

For years now, i have been intending to show General Ajongo the recording of our conversation we had under a sausage tree near the peace market so many years earlier. But I never got a chance to do so, and it pains me to teh core, that such a moment did not come. It would have been great to see how General Ajongo would have reacted to his ideas as a younger officer of a liberation movement that is now having to prove itself to the people of South Sudan, beyond liberation. Now i won’t get that chance. General Ajongo died on April 20th, 2018, at the Military Hospital in Cairo, Egypt.

However, at least the record is there for his children and grand children to see one day and be proud of what this great man had thought about why he took up arms and what he has been able to accomplish under hard and testing circumstances. May your beautiful soul rest in eternal peace, General James. You have gone too soon and at a moment we still needed professional soldiers of your caliber to see our army become a national army worthy of its name. But you have done your part, sir. In fact, you have done it, South Sudan is now free because of you and countless others of your kind, who gave up their youth for a cause all of us had “wished to live for, and if it should kill [us], a cause for which we were prepared to die,” just to borrow the words of Nelson Mandela. My words are of true broken-heartedness, for us all as a nation, but mostly for your family, immediate and extended.

I know there will be people who are quick to focus on your flaws as a human being, our country being a country at war and all, where the actions of a few good men are often overshadowed by the few who do evil. But these will be people who know very little about what you have done for us all. You descend from a long line of leaders and Mawut Unguec Ajongo, from line of the chiefs of the Jaluo in Aweil, had raised a leader in you, a replica of himself and more. It is the presence of your kind in our midst that gave us hope, that this our nation shall win.

Advertisements

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO): PRESS RELEASES ON MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE 2ND IGAD-LED HLRF PHASES IN FEBRUARY 2018

Edmund Yakani

MR. EDMUND YAKANI BERIZILIOUS is the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), a Juba-based South Sudanese civil society organization.

April 21, 2018 (SSB) — The national media coverage of the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum second phase from 5th through 16th February 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The South Sudanese publicly admitted that the role media played in providing daily information on the progress and challenges met during the 2nd Phase of HLRF was remarkable and informative.

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization could like to thank IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, IGAD Secretariat, ARCSS Revitalization Taskforce with support from UNESCO, The UN Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP, The Government of Japan, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission-JMEC and The Government of Federal Republic of Ethiopia leadership for positively responding to our call made to them to allow national media/journalists to report on HLRF directly from Addis Ababa to the public.

Mr. Edmund Yakani, Executive Director says allowing information freely flow to the public is a great element of transforming and keeping citizens engage. Citizens’ transformation and engagement is determinate by their participation which is fully depending on how accurate information they gained from primary sources. South Sudanese will freely take the responsibility of ownership of the HLRF outcomes if they are well informed with accurate primary information on HLRF deliberations. IGAD jointly with JMEC should lobby Ethiopia authorities to allow South Sudanese media to directly cover the HLRF. It is important for the purpose of building citizens trust and confidence on the outcomes of HLRF.

South Sudanese will have faster trust and confidence on the outcomes of the HLRF if national media is directly engaged in covering the HLRF progress. Keeping the citizens and the public in the dark – enables political leaders and other parties to manipulate information on HLRF progress. Mr. Yakani stressed

CEPO strongly would like to inform South Sudanese negotiating parties, stakeholders, IGAD, JMEC and their partners that, the media daily reports on the 2nd HLRF phase built public trust and confidence in positive HLRF outcomes including reduction of hostilities and hate speech associated with peace mediation in social media.

Finally, media coverage of HLRF is vital to inform citizens regarding conflict mediation.

“The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) is a non-profit, civil society, South Sudanese organization, registered by the Ministry of Justice on 17th November 2010. The organization was initially formed in Khartoum in 1999 and consisted of mostly University students, but its scope broadened after it was established in Juba, Southern Sudan as a separate entity. Presently, CEPO is engaged in the areas of Peace and conflict mitigation, human rights, rule of law, livelihood, governance and democratic transformation. MR. EDMUND YAKANI BERIZILIOUS is the Executive Director of CEPO.”

REPORT BY THE COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FOR PROGRESS ORGANIZATION (CEPO): THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN COVERING THE 2ND PHASE OF HIGH-LEVEL REVITALIZATION FORUM (HLRF) FROM THE 5TH THROUGH 16TH OF FEBRUARY 2018, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Media is Mediator of Conflict” Melissa Baumann and Hannes Siebert (Winter 1993), pp. 28-32   

Abstract:  This report attempts to justify the importance of involving media in covering the revitalization of the South Sudan peace agreement under the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF). The South Sudanese publicly admitted that the role media played in providing daily information on the progress and challenges met during the 2nd Phase of HLRF was remarkable and informative. The alternative – keeping the citizens and the public in the dark – enables political leaders and other parties to manipulate information on HLRF progress. The media daily reports on HLRF built public trust and confidence in positive HLRF outcomes including reduction of hostilities and hate speech associated with peace mediation in social media. Media coverage is vital to inform citizens regarding conflict mediation.

Acknowledgment

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) expresses appreciation to IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, IGAD Secretariat and ARCSS revitalization taskforce and funders for facilitating some South Sudanese owned media houses and journalists to cover and daily report to the public the progress met and challenges faced in revitalizing ARCSS in Addis Ababa.

CEPO especially thanks UNESCO, The UN Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP, and the Government of Japan and Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission-JMEC leadership for positively responding to our call made to them to allow national media/journalists to report on HLRF directly from Addis Ababa to the public.

Same appreciation is extended to the Editors in chief of various media houses effectively engaged in reporting from Addis Ababa or reporting the progress and challenges made in the HLRF. CEPO thanks the editors in chief of the media houses that contributed write-ups on their experiences in covering HLRF to be compiled in this report.

CEPO appreciates the staffs that were involved in compiling this report.

Thanks to everybody involved in allowing national media houses to directly report on HLRF process from Addis Ababa to the public.

THANKS TO ALL

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

CEPO and the Association of Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) with support from UNESCO and the UN Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP, JMEC and the Government of Japan conducted training for 50 journalists from 1 – 2 February in Juba. The workshop which took place under the theme “the role of media in peacebuilding” served as a timely platform to update the media on the High Level Revitalization Forum on the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan and to increase journalists’ knowledge on Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in order to ensure that the public is well informed through media on the progress and violations of the agreement to deter the warring parties from further violations. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/juba/about-this-office/single-view/news/enhancing_the_implementation_of_the_peace_agreement_through/)

  1. SUMMARY

National media coverage of peace mediation was not a common practice in South Sudan after 2013. Formation of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan in August 2015 was not adequately covered by national media outlets in South Sudan.  Only one media outlet, namely Eye Radio http://www.eyeradio.org, provided coverage due to support from USAID.

2013 to 2015 Eye Radio coverage of peace mediation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia enabled CEPO to increase serious advocacy and to lobby for coverage by other media outlets for the second phase of the revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa in Feb. 2018.

Peace dialog in the local community proves that effective coverage from the national media increased citizens’ trust and confidence in positive outcomes. CEPO is now aware that when citizens are not well informed, their confidence in the outcomes of the peace mediation is very low. This enables the enemies of peace to provide wrong interpretations on the outcomes of peace mediation.

The signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan was portrayed as a foreign-imposed peace accord. This eroded public trust and confidence in the peace deal, which resulted in the citizens not holding the parties to the peace accord accountable. Through careful tracking, it was realized that limited involvement of the media had serious consequences. When citizens are informed, they are empowered to hold the parties accountable they have the will to see the accord implemented.

The media coverage of the 2nd HLRF effectively contributed in reducing “Fake News” around the HLRF outcomes. The media coverage showed conflicting parties and generated pressure on them and their allies to demonstrate openness to the process.

Finally, the media paced the narrative on the HLRF and helped set expectations about progress for making peace happen in South Sudan. Therefore, media coverage of the HLRF process is essential and should be considered an official part of the process.

  1. OVERALL VIEW (COVERING 2ND HLRF)

The role played by South Sudan national media outlets in covering the second phase of IGAD-led High Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on South Sudan, which was signed Aug. 2015, peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was remarkable and influential. A majority of citizens admitted they were well informed about the 2nd phase of HLRF, whereas that was not true during the previous peace mediation processes. The 2nd HLRF phase was covered by FM radio stations, namely UN Radio Miriya FM, South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (Radio and TV), Bakita FM, and three daily newspapers, namely Juba Monitor, Radio Tamajzu online, and Al-Magif Arabic newspaper. Those media outlets effectively kept the public informed about the newest developments on HLRF.

Public opinion assessed only within Juba City was that they were closely following the HLRF processes through media updates. The public admitted that the media coverage increased their trust and confidence in the process of the HLRF. The public expressed the opinion that the 2nd HLRF media coverage has stopped them being influenced by Fake News as happened previously during ARCSS mediation from 2014-2015.

  1. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE MEDIA HOUSES/OUTLET

(i) RADIO TAMAZUJ. COVERAGE OF THE 2ND HLRF (HTTPS://RADIOTAMAZUJ.ORG/EN)

Undoubtedly, media plays a key role in conflict and peace situations all over the world, and we are aware that the media in South Sudan is still in its infancy. In many developing countries including South Sudan, independent media, in particular, feels a sense of alienation when it comes to news reporting on issues deemed sensitive by governments. Media can work both ways in any country – to ignite violence or to settle peace. We believe media in South Sudan, whether government or independent, plays a pivotal role in peace and stability. It is necessary for the well-being of the people of South Sudan and all sectors, including the media industry.

The Radio Tamazuj team believes that information is the foundation of all human rights and democratic transformation and that it is especially vital in times of crisis and peace. The latest push for South Sudan peace talks in the region and the international community has attracted the attention of those who want South Sudan to have peace and stability after the devastating war that has forced more than four million innocent South Sudanese to flee their homes, creating Africa’s largest refugee crisis.

Radio Tamazuj, as one of the popular and trusted news outlets in the country, also understands the nature of the devastating civil war since it broke out in December 2013. We felt that it was our moral responsibility to update the people of South Sudan with reliable information on the peace negotiations between the key stakeholders during the second round of peace talks, because the people of South Sudan were eager to know what was going on in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The team of Radio Tamazuj decided to take the lead to cover the 2nd High-Level Revitalization Forum from morning until late hours because there was fake and misleading news on social media. As many people know very well, there are untrusted information sources in South Sudan known for spouting propaganda and posting updates with unverified news articles on the second round of the peace talks.

RT coverage of the 2nd HLRF

  1. Our professional team of journalists and editors dedicated its time and effort during the two weeks of the second phase of the revitalization forum to report what was going on inside and outside the conference hall in Addis Ababa despite the exclusion of all journalists from attending the talks between the warring parties.
  2. The team widened its networks at the peace talks to make sure that all key stakeholders including civil society groups at the peace talks were given equal opportunity to express their views freely despite difficulties in bringing the government on board sometimes.
  3. The team worked tirelessly to get accurately report as many details as possible during the peace talks by engaging all the negotiators despite lack of willingness from some of the stakeholders to brief the public on what happened during the peace talks.

Recommendations

  1. The role of the media must be recognized as a valuable tool for change in South Sudan.
  2. The press is often described as the “fourth power” because of its Influence on public opinion and indirect influence on informing decisions, so journalists should attend the peace negotiations next time to observe the situation and report accurately.
  3. Independent media acts as the watchdog to protect the public interest against malpractice and corruption, so it should be given freedom.

(ii) EYE RADIO: EVALUATION OF EYE RADIO’S COVERAGE OF HLRF – PHASE II (HTTP://EYERADIO.ORG/)

Two Eye Radio’s journalists, Alhadi Awari and Rosemary Wilfred, were in Addis Ababa and covered the revitalization forum for ten (10) days. The second phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum commenced on February 5, 2018, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. During this round of talks, the parties deliberated on how to achieve a full and inclusive implementation of the revitalized agreement, and how to restore and sustain a permanent ceasefire with revived timelines and implementation schedule.

The stakeholders also discussed ways to strengthen the 2015 peace agreement in the revitalization of the peace process.

Eye Radio spoke to representatives of the TGoNU, the opposition groups, civil society, religious leaders, women and youth groups among many other stakeholders during the first week in the talk in Addis Ababa. The first week was riddled with disagreements over a number of issues, including the declaration of principles, the number of the members of the transitional parliament, and the state of emergency.  All the parties except the government signed the declaration of principles, which is considered as the basis for deliberations.

The coverage in morning and evening hours.  Eye Radio has been updating listeners in the dawn show (Eye Radio’s current affairs morning program) from 7 – 8am, news bulletins every day, and at 8pm every evening. Most of Eye Radio callers were very impressed by the live coverage from Addis Ababa. Many of them called Eye Radio news line during night hours appreciating the work.  Eye Radio started the live broadcast in Eye Radio’s mobile studio in Addis Ababa on the second day of the talks – Tuesday at 6am and at 7:30am.

Elements of live coverage in Addis and Juba

  1. Journalists act as first-hand witnesses to the events and counter-rumors
  2. Accuracy in reporting
  3. Proximity to party representatives for interviews and opinions
  4. Freedom to speak to opposition groups which is impossible from South Sudan
  5. South Sudanese in the Diaspora have a chance to speak to the people back home through the reporters in Addis
  6. Opportunity to balance stories instantly
  7. No intimidation of Journalists from Addis, contrary to reporting from Juba.

Concerns from the Journalists

  1. Delays and difficulties in obtaining visas,
  2. Long hours waiting at Bole airport for clearance by IGAD,
  3. Request for all travel arrangements to be done on time to avoid inconveniences,
  4. No updates from IGAD, JMEC and Special Envoys about the talks,
  5. All meetings were closed door,
  6. Journalists to be allowed to enter the conference room to photograph proceedings.

Improved coverage is needed next time

  1. Journalists to request space at the venue to broadcast,
  2. IGAD and JMEC officials to give daily updates to Journalists about negotiations, outcome and challenges,
  3. IGAD and JMEC should each assign one official whom Journalists can approach anytime for one-on-one interviews.

(iii) PAANLUEL WEL: SOUTH SUDANESE BLOGGER: PAANLUEL WËL: ASSESSING THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN THE ONGOING IGAD-LED HLRF (HTTPS://PAANLUELWEL.COM)

As the fourth arm of the government, the media in South Sudan has the noble role and moral duty to inform, educate, guide and engage the South Sudanese public, the government and the opposition parties by offering unbiased reporting, constructive criticism and critical analysis of the raging civil war and the present search for peace in South Sudan. However, in the concurrently ongoing National Dialogue Initiative and the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), the media has utterly failed to play their constructive roles and moral duty to adequately inform, fully educate, and actively engage the people of South Sudan to better understand the challenges and appreciate the opportunities for peace and political stability presented by the IGAD-led HLRF. Nonetheless, the media has a chance to redeem itself and regain the trust of the people in the third phase of the IGAD-led HLRF.

(iv) CATHOLIC RADIO NETWORK (CRN) EXPERIENCE IN COVERING THE SECOND PHASE OF THE REVITALIZATION FORUM (HTTP://CATHOLICRADIONETWORK.ORG/)

CRN’s experience in covering the second phase of the Revitalization Forum for South Sudan at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the first place, I want to register my appreciation for the chance given to CRN to cover the second phase of the Revitalization of the agreement to inform South Sudanese people on the process.

Benefits are as follow:

  1. The talks were the first for CRN to attend but provided very good exposure and a high chance to give the people of South Sudan the correct and new information from the forum.
  2. CRN was able to talk to all sides: Nine opposition groups represented by their spokespersons, the government represented by spokesperson civil society organization, youth, and women groups.
  3. CRN was able to balance its news because all sides were close.
  4. CRN was able to interview many politicians and activists individually or in a group.
  5. The presence of CRN in Addis Ababa gave people hope when there were reports of some agreements.

Difficulties

  1. Traveling process was hurried
  2. Delay at Juba Airport because communication was not done on time
  3. Delay at Addis Ababa Airport because immigration processes were not complete
  4. Arrival after the opening, so our audience countrywide did not get the opening session of the Forum.
  5. Mediators were not briefing us regularly so some media houses gave out fake news about the talks.

Recommendations

  1. Traveling process should be done earlier to avoid delays at both airports because of communication challenges.
  2. Early processing of tickets will enable us to cover the opening session.
  3. Mediators should regularly brief the journalists so that some media houses do not confuse people back home about the talks.

(v) JUBA MONITOR NEWSPAPER: EXPERIENCE OF JUBA MONITOR COVERING THE 2ND PHASE OF HLRF

Juba Monitor newspaper being the leading English newspaper in South Sudan took the lead in covering the second phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa from February 5th to February 16th, 2018.

The coverage was led by Juba Monitor News Editor who was at the Forum to cover the progress of the discussions, and the Juba Monitor team in Juba helped in covering other events outside Addis Ababa associated with the peace talks.

Our dedicated reporting helped dispel misleading information circulating in social media as our reporter on the ground provided us with daily news articles covering the discussions each day.

Due to our coverage of the 2nd phase of the HLRF, we got huge feedback from our readership about the good work we did. The reporter on the ground also individually got appreciation from the readers for his hard work which kept the public informed.

Juba Monitor provided the platform for all the participants at the forum to give their views on the peace talks. The government officials, the opposition leaders, the civil society, women, youth and the religious leaders all got the chance to air their views on the process. Most importantly, the presence of our journalist at the forum helped provide the platform for the opposition delegates who are hard to access.

The presence of the reporter helped in getting first-hand information from the discussions as our previous coverage relied on secondhand information which was hard to verify and time-consuming.

The role of the media in the peace process cannot be disputed. We, therefore, would want to continue with coverage of the discussions if resources allow.

In conclusion, it is important to have local journalists cover the progress of the HLRF for the South Sudanese back home. The public relies on the local media for updates from the HLRF. The main challenges that should be addressed are the issue of accreditation and reluctance by some groups to provide information or talk to the press.

(vi) DAWN NEWSPAPER

It is the pleasure of the Dawn Newspaper Management to have a say on the HLRF oversight report. Although being one of the leading national newspapers in the Republic of South Sudan which has considerable constituencies of readers in the capital Juba and the States, the Dawn did not cover the HLRF proceedings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to the convention of the revitalization, The Dawn Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Michael Koma, and other Editors attended a meeting in America Residence in Juba in which he stressed to Mr. Mark of the US Embassy the importance of involving the local Journalists in covering the proceedings of HLRF.

Most media houses in South Sudan are facing the acute financial crisis; they cannot afford to pay air tickets and accommodations for their reporters in Ethiopia. Hence we appealed to the donor countries to support the media houses in reporting on the HLRF. We believe each media house has the responsibility to contribute in bringing peace to South Sudan and we in the Dawn believed strongly in the realization of peace in the country.

Although we had participated in the two previous rounds, we applaud our colleagues in the other media houses for having done a wonderful job of informing the public of every-day activity in Addis Ababa. We envied their work and we felt we would have added a different flavor. The reporting of our colleagues had made the public well informed of the revitalization. It has generated interest in the peace process. It has pricked the government conscious that the people of South Sudan want peace. The media reporting has exposed the government as a party against peace and this prompted the government to brief the public about government position. The pressure that the local reporters could bring to bear on the warring parties is important. We cannot rely on the international media to tell our story. South Sudan audience believes in the national media more than the international; our readers had wondered why the Dawn was left out. We wondered too. However, we had assurances that the Dawn would be included in the coming rounds of the revitalization.  Government officials trusted the Dawn; it would be an asset for the Dawn to have the presence in Addis Ababa

(vii) CITIZENS CONTRIBUTION:  SOUTH SUDAN: THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA IN THE SOCIETY

Posted: March 14, 2018, by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan. By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

March 14, 2018 (SSB) — Media is a communication channel through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media comes in many different formats, including print media (books, magazines, and newspapers), radios, televisions, movies, video games, music, cell phones, billboards, direct mail, and various kinds of software, fax and the Internet. Each type of media involves users (senders and receivers), content, and also a device or object through which the content is delivered under the Media practice and Law of that particular society.

Media is a tool that shapes the living style and activities of mankind, media is educative, media is a stool pigeon and media is entertaining hence; making it the beautiful and comprehensive form of exchange and review.

During the pre-modernization era messages were either pass through words of mouth with messengers covering distances of miles on foot taking the number of days before they could be reached the intended receiver(s) or messages within the same geographical locations were communicated through drums beating, Ululations, screaming and horns blowing. Today our contemporary world have gone ahead with more diversified media forms such as Web sites, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, emails, fax and many more.

Last year when the issue of fuel crisis hit the switching button of a Media house that prints Juba Daily Newspapers such as Juba Monitor, The Dawn Newspaper, This Day, Almaugif and Alwatan that week went so blank; it was like a century of darkness, in media; messages of hope, entertainment and development are pass and digest by the consumers. Within the house of media what is beyond individual reach is brought to his/her doorstep for consumption. Through media, writers use books, newspapers, magazines and social Media to write opinions and documentation. With the media, journalists are able to inform the public day in and out, sculptors, painters, comedians, cartoonists, and musicians have a podium of passing their messages of social education and entertainments.

Media is the power that drives human soul; in media there is no news that is bad news because any news in its nature has already confirmed its description of being News, the roof of media house is made up of what happened and not purely on the best part of how it happened as long as it has been authenticated by the right sender and deliver to the right receiver.

Media is the powerhouse that shelter truth and mysteries, it comfort the soul and at a time scratch it depending on the size of its roofing. Above all media practitioners and beneficiaries are always on the steering wheel of the “information and justice for all” under the guiding stick of individual rights, philosophical cohesiveness, respect, and understanding.

Purely media is never an enemy to the individual but a switching hub through which individual opinions are shared for possible judgment, consumptions and correction hence, leading to exposure of social injustice and justice on individual or group of people.

Media is a power that houses the information world but a bitter drop of destruction when abuse and misuse by the users. Media should not be abused at an individual wish because a person cannot make media, it is every one effort meant to cover all aspects of social, economic and political living of the society.

Awuol Gabriel Arok, a Writer, and a Poet, has a Bachelor Degree in Social and Developmental Studies from the University of Juba, South Sudan, he is the author of the unpublished book ‘‘The Wisdom Horn’’ and an Initiator of ‘‘Your Tribe is My Tribe’’ and ‘‘Giving Heart Foundation’’ initiatives. He can be reached via his email Address: jjmkamzeearokson@yahoo.comSources:  https://paanluelwel.com/2018/03/14/the-important-of-media-in-the-society/

(viii) RELEVANCE AND ADDED VALUE OF MEDIA COVERAGE OF HLRF

The importance of a free, professional and plural media in South Sudan is paramount at this critical situation. It will add value to the ongoing HLRF in Addis Ababa. A vibrant media gives people free-flowing access to information, enables negotiation, encourages people to express their views, and indirectly prompts greater political participation of the citizens.

The media houses in South Sudan should play a major role in peacebuilding by sensitizing citizens to relevant information on the peace process. The media can add value by promoting inclusivity and popular ownership of not only the HLRF process and the ACoH in particular but also the implementation of any peace-related activity among different stakeholders in South Sudan. We, therefore, promote a competent and free media to serve as a credible component in creating and building civil society and stability in post-conflict South Sudan.

Media is the only way most South Sudanese citizens access credible information on the current state of affairs where Social media, a technology designed to bring people together, seems to be doing the opposite by spreading false rumors and hateful speech during the phase II of the HLRF.  For example, the media played a major role in educating the citizens on how the peace talks were going. Radio houses like Eye radio reported live from Addis Ababa, giving a lot of hope to the already disturbed population.

Media and journalists have been victims of the ongoing conflict. Even so, the news media and journalists are at the forefront of peace-building initiatives because, when they function effectively, they are crucial for the safeguarding of peace and democracy.

A reliable and diverse media that can express itself freely provides early warning of potential outbreaks of conflict. Media also helps alert and mobilize the international community particularly about the HLRF. During this peace-building process, it serves multiple vital purposes and is an important complement to almost every program pursued in different sectors.

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS AND A WAY FORWARD

8.0. IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan

  1. There is need the timely invitation of journalists need timely invitations to cover the HLRF.
  2. Journalists must be able to easily obtain visas to Ethiopia since they are only focusing on covering HLRF.
  3. Journalists must be able to easily and quickly access the venue of HLRF.
  4. Journalist needs a conducive environment around the HLRF venue for reporting back the progress made to the South Sudanese.
  5. There is a need for IGAD to provide timely information on HLRF process for public consumption at home.
  • JMEC and Donors
  1. Journalists need access to cover HLRF timely and effectively.
  2. Journalists need support to have timely access to the HLRF venue for effective and balanced coverage of this story.
  • South Sudanese delegates for HLRF (Parties, faith-based, Youth, eminent personalities, Women and Civil society)
  1. There is need to cooperate with the journalists to provide accurate information on the HLRF deliberation without complicating information.
  2. There is need to encourage the citizens with concrete information on concrete progress made.
  3. There is need to avoid politicizing information for the public interest.
  • Media
  1. There is need to assign professional and experienced journalists in peace mediation reporting/coverage.
  2. There is need to report on the search for peace beyond HLRF events outcomes by conducting interviews with various delegates of the warring parties, Mediator-IGAD and stakeholders.
  3. There is need to dedicate time in radio and newspaper columns for HLRF period.

CONCLUSIONS

Media plays a vital role in the growth and development of human society. The role of media in conflict resolution, conflict transformation, and conflict management is usually described by experts as “Mediator of Conflict.” Quoting Melissa Baumann and Hannes Siebert on their publication with title of “The Media as Mediator,” NIDR Forum, (Winter 1993), pp. 28-32, “The media unavoidably, necessarily mediates conflicts,” and, “The authors suggest that by drawing on the experience of mediators, journalists could better learn ‘how to win trust, build credibility, and challenge secrecy and authority at the same time.’”[p. 32]. It is high time to conclude that media is an essential actor in peace mediation. https://www.beyondintractability.org/artsum/baumann-themedia.

South Sudan deserves to be allowed to cover the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) freely, without restriction or frustration.

It is proven that supporting media coverage of the 2nd Phase of the HLRF helped win public trust and confidence on the outcomes of the 2nd phase HLRF. Media coverage of the 2nd HLRF created a remarkable impact on peace mediation. Key impacts include: The public is engaged on the 2nd HLRF; Public ownership of 2nd HLRF is secured; Fake News around 2nd HLRF was reduced; Pressures created on the parties to be open and sincere on HLRF and offline media coverage reduced the scale of hate speech on both online and offline media.

The language of the outcome of the 2nd phase imposed on us by the warring parties is made irrelevant by factual media coverage because the citizens/public were kept informed on every single action/decision reached during the 2nd phase of HLRF.  Therefore, timely facilitation of national media outlets for coverage of the HLRF next phase should be taken seriously by all stakeholders including IGAD, Donors, and civil society.

South Sudanese people tend to trust information that comes from national media outlets. They consider it a public-interest debate forum because foreign media information is feared. This is because the government sometimes treats foreign media as enemies of the state. Finally, supporting and encouraging national media coverage of the HLRF is an important symbol of inclusivity and a strongly participatory approach to realizing peace in South Sudan.

“The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) is a non-profit, civil society, South Sudanese organization, registered by the Ministry of Justice on 17th November 2010. The organization was initially formed in Khartoum in 1999 and consisted of mostly University students, but its scope broadened after it was established in Juba, Southern Sudan as a separate entity. Presently, CEPO is engaged in the areas of Peace and conflict mitigation, human rights, rule of law, livelihood, governance and democratic transformation. MR. EDMUND YAKANI BERIZILIOUS is the Executive Director of CEPO.”

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.


Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit remains a symbol of poverty, hate and disunity! 

By Sunday de John, Nairobi, Kenya

April 21, 2018 (SSB) — Five days ago, I posted a heading of the piece I planned to write on my Facebook page. I had desired to share my take on President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his governance of the country.

Today, I decided to publish the piece in its context. The readers ought to detach emotions and read with commitment so as to get the true content of the piece. Don’t let your thoughts be obscured by blind support.

This author has been unshakeable supporter of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He had authored 4,368 articles in favour of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, his government and policies over years.

He has fallen victim on several counts as Kiir adversaries took him for a stooge, a paid mouthpiece. All I did had no association with payment and for your information my name had never been written in any paysheet of the government since I was born. Read the rest of this entry »


By Athian Kuol Malith, Harare, Zimbabwe

museveni's quote on leadership

April 20, 2018 (SSB) — This research will highlight the best Musicians during and before war struggle against the Sudanese regime and how their music inspired the entire population to excel from the total debilitation to final emancipation into peaceful tranquillity state. The effort taken by them inspired and paved the way to south Sudanese and gave optimism in their struggle.

However, some of them were threatened, killed by Sudanese government whilst some seek asylum in foreign countries due to domestic masses they engaged in music about the suffering of southern Sudanese (now South Sudan). The contribution they had exhausted gained south Sudanese soldiers momentum to perpetually fighting for their freedom.

Most of them sing in their mother tongues though it was hard for other tribes to understand the language and the message. It takes a lot for an artist to truly register in the popular imagination and earn a reputation for being famous, becomes veteran and etc.  (Though that designation is applied far more casually in the art world itself).

Read the rest of this entry »


By Apioth Mayom Apioth, Washington State, USA

kiiriek

KiiRiek

April 20, 2018 (SSB) — It has become commonplace knowledge that both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are political liabilities and unfit to steer South Sudan toward a new dawn of bountiful fortune. Salva Kiir’s promiscuous personality would never allow him to stick to any consistent strategic policy formulation. After the breakout of the war in December 2013, he allowed himself to be controlled by two hardcore ethnic chauvinists in the name of Paul Malong Awan and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), and to a certain extent by a group consisting mostly of former Khartoum politicians, whose political allegiance is questionable at best.

Paul Malong Awan’s infamous greed for everything is well known. He wants to have more wives than everyone else. He wants to be the wealthiest person in history that ever lived at the expense of the taxpayers’. He is rumored to have two mansions in Uganda and Kenya: one in Kampala and another in Nairobi as we speak. On his last SBS Radio’s interview dated April 10th, Ateny Wek Ateny stated that” during his time in office as army Chief of General Staff, banks were opened at night for General Malong to take the money and he squandered a lot of money that time.” Read the rest of this entry »


How Political Wrangling in the Ruling SPLM Party Wrecked South Sudan Apart In 2013: A Belated Reaction to Mabior Garang’s and Deng Vanang’s Articles.

By Hon Arop Madut Arop, Oxford, UK

SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen James Ajongo Mawut

R. I. P SPLA Chief of General Staff, Gen James Ajongo Mawut Unguec

April 20, 2018 (SSB) — Last month, I wrote an article about the impact of the political bickering and schism in the ruling SPLM party (January-July 2013), and how that wrangling ignited the December 2013 crisis and the ongoing efforts by the IGAD led High Revitalisation Forum to bring a halt to the escalating crises and restore sustainable peace back to the young nation. I have closely and keenly been watching the sad events as they tear our young nation asunder.

Weighed down by the magnitude of destruction unfolding under my watch, I found it morally compelling to give the eyewitness account of what I believe were the direct conflict triggers. While my take on the events may not be comprehensive, it would at least shed light on issues which the IGAD led High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) Mediators may want to look into with more depth. That was the spirit with which I approached my previous articles.

Two compatriots; Mabior Garang and a Deng Vanang, immediately made comments which, given what I witnessed at first hand, registered to me as an uninformed or willfully dismissive of the actual content of my article. I wish I could desist, but I must say judging from the responses I got from the two discussants, handed down cultural parameters governing healthy exchanges on vexing communal concerns, have become history and are replaced by innuendos, imaginative truths fuelled by phobia, paranoia, and frustration.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dissolution and formation of the Cabinet – 2013

By Telar Ring Deng, Nairobi, Kenya

April 19, 2018 (SSB) — The events that led to the 2013 dissolution of the cabinet can be traced back to the deep mistrust that fermented back in 1991 when leaders failed to close ranks. After the 1991 Nassir declaration, President Salva Kiir Mayardit did not see eye to eye with Dr. Riek Machar. He had developed a strong dislike for him because he believed that Rebellion was not to be rewarded.

On January 6th, 2002, after vigorous negotiations, the declaration for reunification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was signed in Nairobi.

Upon signing of the declaration for reunification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Dr. John Garang de Mabior the co-signatory to the declaration travelled to Yei where he held the leadership council meeting. They discussed and approved a document that allowed Dr. Riek Machar back as the 3rd in command.

Throughout the discussions, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, then a commander, who was evidently furious, demanded that the matter be subjected to voting and indeed it was but unfortunately the ballot went in favor of Dr. Riek Machar. James Wani without bitterness accepted to take the fourth position in the hierarchy of the SPLM. However, this order didn’t go down well with Kiir. Read the rest of this entry »


The meeting between the AU Peace and Security Council and the South Sudanese civil society organizations in Juba, South Sudan

April 19, 2018 (SSB) — African Union Peace and Security Council met civil society today in Juba within their framework of visiting Juba. The meeting was impressive and encouraging between the civil society and the Africa Peace and Security Council over the on-going peace process under IGAD-Led High Level Revitalization Forum.

At same time, the AUPSC members met the inter-faith leaders of South Sudan. The civil society viewed the position of the AU peace and Security Council members as clear demonstration of commitment for pressuring the South Sudan negotiating parties to reach a peace deal in the next phase of HLRF scheduled for 2nd-6th May, 2018 in Addis Ababa. Read the rest of this entry »



By Hon. Taban Abel Aguek, Yirol, South Sudan

April 18, 2018 (SSB) — The world today is in complete disarray and no one seems to do anything about it. The human creativity, mental and innovative power have all been put to a serious abuse. In short, man has not only lost the true values of humanity but has also misused the strength and quality of its brain.

Centuries ago – before the civilization – the biggest enemy of man used to be wild animals and natural calamities. People used to fear lions, leopards, crocodiles, elephants, snakes and many other animals. Human beings used to fear storms, floods, drought etc. Today, neither natural calamities nor dangerous animals are a priority concern for man.

Physically, one of the weakest of all the creatures on earth is a human being. A man cannot run faster than a goat, has no better sight than a cat and also has no a jaw-power of a dog – the simple domestic animals man. Read the rest of this entry »


Is extrajudicial killing a solution to Gogrial communal conflict: The existence of the state of emergency and disarmament should be a solution not a problem

By Longar Mathiec Wol, Nairobi, Kenya

April 18, 2018 (SSB) — As the country continues to struggle with insecurity, the communal conflict persist and becomes a threat to the stability as it continues to spread a cross the country. The unique example of these communal conflicts or violence is found in Gogrial state. The continuance and repetitive violence between Aguok and Apuk communities and to some extend Kuac community involved.

This recurring scenario forced the national government to declared the state of emergency, paving the way for the government to dispatch troops to the state for disarmament. As the disarmament continues, some days ago, the report of rampant killing of civilians in Gogrial state in the name of being criminals by disarmament forces emerged. Read the rest of this entry »

NCA: We are not shutting down MTN in South Sudan

Posted: April 17, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

Children of the Rich Mother

Posted: April 17, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

Poem by Wol Deng Atak

You, yes, you! The Children of the Rich Mother, how could a gun chase a weak among you to the ruin of poverty! Oh no! Are you the Children of the once so much respected Motherland?

How did you allow the gun to sniff lives out of existence at your watch!

The lubricants of your livelihood were readily cascading through a wave of glory from the hills of your land to the sea of returns – only you had allowed it to flow uninterruptedly would you defeat a bite of poverty;

Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Gen. “King Paul” Malong Awan Anei?

Posted: April 16, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

By Lual Akeen Akeen, Nairobi, Kenya

April 15, 2018 (SSB) — Lieutanant General, Dr. Paul Malong Awan Anei was born early 1960s in Aweil’s township of Warawar. He is a South Sudanese politician, businessman and one of East Africa most powerful military figure. Malong who had formerly served as governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (now divided into three states) from 27 March 2008 to 2014 was called upon by the Incumbent president, General Salva Kiir Kuethpiny Mayar to fight against Dr. Riek’s 2013 rebellion. He served as chief of General Staff from 24 April 2014 – 9 May 2017 when the president sacked him and detained him in the nation’s capital Juba where he, Malong, has obediently been questioning the illegal action of the president to date.

Early life and education

Paul Malong was born in Warawar to Aluat (mother) and Awan Anei (father). His father was a paramount chief who governed his kinsmen in the Wun-Anei section of Abiem, situated in current Aweil East State. At eight years old, Malong lost his father when his father was killed by a member of his community. The family is survived by four children. Malong’s older siblings are deceased. In the order of their birth (excluding the deceased), the children of Awandit’s first wife, who is also Malong’s mother, are Agot, Amou, him and Atak.

As a young man, Malong attended basic schools in his home village. After his father was killed in the late 1960s, Malong moved to Muglad, (North Sudan) where he continued his primary school. He had his intermediate education at St. James in Khartoum. It was here in Khartoum that he participated in the clandestine formation of the Anyanya II movement in the Bahr el Gazal area. Read the rest of this entry »


No community nor society is exempted from all national rights, Revolution or any other

By Andrew Ngang, Egypt, Cairo

April 15, 2018 (SSB) — It is difficult to understand and predict what the future holds as our country is dealing with a wide variety of issues among of which are , tribal identities, economy crisis , and poor political orientation .

However , there has been a growing awareness among a number of intellectuals in South Sudan and Sudan that a political change cannot be isolated from social change, and that change in the group consciousness and behavior of people maybe symptoms of pervasive changes in institutions, custom and attitudes.

We have experienced a constant frustration from those who are trying to understands the present present in South Sudan as well as we are triggered by traumatic or energizing events such as Sudan civil war, as to dramatic 2013 war in S.Sudan whatever the experience might be.

Read the rest of this entry »



The Scheduled Africa Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) Meeting in Juba, South Sudan, should focus on building citizens ownership, trust and confidence on the outcomes of HLRF

April 14, 2018 (SSB) — TheAfrica Union Peace and Security Council is planning to have a meeting of the council in Juba on the current on-going situation in South Sudan. This is meeting within the timeframe where IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan is conducting shuttle diplomacy with various South Sudan actors to the on-going peace mediation process.

The AU Peace and Security Council meeting is timely in terms of pushing and lobbying South Sudan negotiating parties for Compromises on the registered deadlock on the road to revitalize the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). CEPO appreciates the action of the AUPSC. It is clear demonstration of commitment for ensure peace prevail in South Sudan. Read the rest of this entry »


By Telar Ring Deng, Nairobi, Kenya

Pagan, Malong and Telar

Pagan Amum, Gen Paul Malong, and Telar Ring Deng, and behind them Dr Majak Agot and Gen Mach Paul Awar, at the house of Telar in Nairobi, Kenya, during the funeral of Gen Andrew Makur Thou

April 12, 2018 (SSB) — Dear all, I have been advisor from the year August 2010 to October 2014, and during my tenure as the President’s legal advisor, I have been blamed for very many decisions the president took.

Well, the assumption is that since the President has advisors, they are the ones who make decisions on his behalf. Let me break it down for you; in the Oxford Dictionary, the word advice means to offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone.

Therefore as a legal advisor, I was merely offering suggestions on anything legal to President Salva Kiir and he had the option to take my advice or not to take it. The final decision is always and will always be by the President and the Commander in chief of the SPLA and the Supreme Commander of all other armed forces.

Read the rest of this entry »

In the World of Hope

Posted: April 12, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Awuol Gabriel Arok, Junub Sudan, Poems.

By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

With its beautifulness and greatness

My mother bore the hardship of Pregnancy and tirelessness;

This world, the village of darkness, evil hoppers and choppers,

You made it mum and now I am here in this world;

World of people who live on weariness and hope

*

In the world of hope; my parents

Brain minded me to the use of pens,

White writing became my immediate assets and belong,

Young and humble man parenting writing materials;

Clearing chalk dust from my empty looking face Read the rest of this entry »


In the Footsteps of Dr. John Garang: Why We Must Embrace Homegrown Solutions to End Conflict in South Sudan

By Kerubino Kocrup Makuach, Nairobi, Kenya

Garang, Kiir, Riek and Wani

John Garang, Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and James Wani Igga

April 12, 2018 (SSB) — In December 2013, war broke out as a result of political disagreements within South Sudan`s ruling party – Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The nucleus of the disagreement was a power squabble between the Party Chairman, President Kiir Mayardit and the Deputy Chair, Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.

The two leaders disagreed over voting modalities in electing the Party’s Chairman. The chair of the party was a greatly contested position. Owing to the popularity of the SPLM party on the ground, it was assumed that the man clinching the seat would automatically carry the day in the soon to be held presidential general election.

The SPLM’s National Liberation Council meeting held in early December at NYANKUORN Hall ended with some party members feeling disgruntled. A motion fronted by Dr. Riek Machar and the former Political Detainees (FDs) group who had been shot down by a show of hands. A modality the Riek side of the divide in SPLM could not agree with.

Read the rest of this entry »