The United Nations agencies have called South Sudan journalists to cover public matters and implement the Revitalize Peace Agreement.
Hundreds of journalists from various media houses driven from print, radio, and TV participated in the workshop to pave way for permanent constitution making process.
International partners uttered unanimous appeals during the media consultation training on UN Women’s permanent constitutional making process.
Organizations want media to magnify news coverage in the permanent constitution-making process to ensure the citizens’ voices are involved.
Head of UN Women Peterson Magoola said the constitution-making process is the deep benchmark for the agreement. Agencies admitted enormous challenges facing media roles in the news coverage.
“But we need to play our roles as media in terms of ethics to ensure that we are informing the citizens on national policies, constitutional making process and ensure the voice of the people who cannot be heard is brought on board. It is through media who can make to get that information. And we can make this process possible.”
Undersecretary in the ministry of information, communication, and postal service, Dr. Yath Awan, said journalists are the fourth pillar in the government. They have essential roles in the permanent constitution-making process.
UNMISS Chief Political Affair Guy Bennet expressed similar views, saying media played significant roles for civic engagement and public participation in the constitution-making process.
UNDP Representative Samuel Doe believed the constitution-making process is highly political, requiring consensus building, dialogue, and reconciliation.
The Chairperson of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), Mary Ajith, said the involvement of journalists in the constitution-making process is vital to protect press freedom. “The constitution-making process needs free mind and space for the citizen,” She quoted.
In the World Press Freedom Index, South Sudan is ranked 141st out of 180 countries in 2016 by Reporters Without Borders due to lack of press freedom and protection of journalists.