South Sudan urges media to take lead role in peace process

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir (Photo Credit: al Jazeera)

South Sudan’s peace monitors on Wednesday appealed to the media to take the lead in peace building and promoting harmony in the conflict-torn Country.

Berhanu Kebede, chief of staff of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said the South Sudanese media should take responsibility of the ongoing peace efforts and help defuse hostilities among groups torn-part by over five years of conflict.

Kebede said media plays key role in disseminating information about the recently signed peace agreement and providing a platform for discussion.

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He made the remarks during a day-long conference marking the World Radio Day in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

“We continue to urge all members of the media to be a pillar in the process of building sustainable peace by reporting stories that will promote understanding and harmony among the people of South Sudan,’’ Kebede said.

“We must work together to ensure that confidence and peace building efforts bear more fruit and that the people of South Sudan feel part of the process,’’ Kebede added.

Chaplain Kara Yokoju, a professor of journalism and communication at the University Juba, said that media can play vital role in promoting dialogue, tolerance and peace among communities.

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South Sudan has been embroiled in four years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people by polarising communities along ethnic lines, massive displacement that has created one of the world’s biggest refugee crisis.

The media was partly blamed for aiding ethnic divisions and tension in the world’s youngest country as some outlets were used as propaganda tools by the warring factions.

A new deal signed in September 2018 appears to be holding despite continued violence in the southern parts of the country.

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“In the next three years, and during the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.

“Your (media) role will become more and more vital and it is powerful tool to change the negative reports about our country,’’ said Justine Aleer Demayen, undersecretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.