Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

“As reporters, we understand that the clock is ticking down fast to South Sudan’s first post-independence elections,” said Suzan Chieku, a journalist from Western Equatoria’s capital, Yambio.

Suzan was speaking at a two-day capacity building workshop hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The aim of the forum: To highlight the vital role played by journalists ahead of this young nation’s much-delayed elections, which are currently scheduled for December 2024, especially when it comes to monitoring and reporting on cases of sexual violence in accordance with globally accepted human rights standards.

“We have come here to learn more about our roles and responsibilities as the media and also to know how we, as journalists, can remain safe while documenting sensitive issues such as gender-based and conflict-related sexual violence,” she added.

For Christopher Ganniko, Chair of Western Equatoria’s Union of Journalists, the workshop has been useful.

“At times, we have faced issues where high-profile people have been involved in such cases and have found it difficult to do accurate reporting,” said Mr Ganniko.

“We have had issues in the state where high profile personnel have been involved in cases and we don’t know how we can go about it. But this training has given us much-needed information on which procedures to use to collect information and report on such matters,” he explained.

More than 30 journalists, including 10 women, participated in the training and discussed diverse topics such as human rights, media ethics and responsibilities, advocacy, democracy, and security incidents and threats.

“This is very important knowledge imparted and we hope journalists from Western Equatoria will now be able to provide balanced and fair media coverage throughout the electoral process,” stated Alex Digi, Press Secretary to the state Governor.

Isaac Mursal Timon, the state Minister of Information and Communication appreciated the initiative as well.

“Such workshops help us reach communities and sensitize them on their rights as well as responsibilities as citizens of South Sudan,” averred Minister Timon.

For its part, the UN Peacekeeping, hopes to replicate this interactive training in other parts of western Equatoria and beyond, if possible.

“Such fora are essential to safeguard human rights as well as the rights and dignity of sexual violence survivors,” stated Albert Maurice, an UNMISS Human Rights Officer. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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