Wednesday, May 18, 2016

To South Sudan's journalists: Respect
The 16 journalists participating in our peace journalism workshop were assigned to report stories on a reconciliation theme. They split into four groups, and produced some fine radio reports that reflect the best principles of peace and reconciliation journalism. You can listen to their four stories here.

My two weeks in Juba have flown by, and have been as much a learning experience for me as for the journalists who my partner Gloria Laker and I trained. I’ve reached the conclusion that a journalist here must be extremely committed to the profession and to the peace and reconciliation that responsible journalism can help bring about. Otherwise, no one could tolerate the indignities suffered by South Sudanese journalists: a press-restricting government; corruption in the profession; little or no training; poorly equipped journalists who don’t even have simple devices like audio recorders; politically or ethnically biased media owners and managers; extremely low pay; and threats to one’s safety. These threats are real—seven South Sudanese journalists were killed last year.

I leave Juba with a deep respect for these journalists, and a strong hope that they can use the lessons they’ve learned to provide a platform for reconciliation in South Sudan.

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