South Sudan Peace Correspondents Trained In Conflict Sensitive Reporting

Feb 15, 2017

Participants practice during the conflict sensitive reporting training. Photo: ©UNDP

Fifty-one peace correspondents working for radio stations located in various states in South Sudan have been trained in Juba in conflict sensitive reporting, peace journalism and peacebuilding. The three-day training equipped the correspondents with skills and knowledge that enables them to report in a manner that promotes and builds peace.

The peace correspondents, who are mainly citizen journalists, are part of the ‘‘Radio for Peace Network’’ (RaPNET). RaPNET brings together community radio stations in South Sudan to advocate for a culture of peace in the country. As the link between the radio stations and the communities, the peace correspondents enable the stations to increase their access to information related to peacebuilding and reconciliation.

“The community should be part of the radio content you produce, and radio should address the need of your communities,” Josephine Achiro, an official of RaPNET, noted while urging participants in the training to involve their communities in their news and programming.

“You are playing a very important role in reaching out to communities all over the country. You are, and you will continue to be carriers of peace,” said Mr. Rasbarant, Minister Counsellor and Head of Office from the Swedish Embassy, speaking at the opening ceremony. 

The conflict sensitive reporting training focused, among others, on guidelines for reporting conflict and peace, the importance of gender sensitivity in reporting conflicts, safety for journalists working in conflict areas and ethical guidelines for journalists covering conflicts and peacebuilding. 

closing ceremonyParticipants posed with Mr. Rasbarant, Minister Counsellor and Head of Office from the Swedish Embassy, during the closing ceremony. Photo: ©UNDP

“Reporting on issues related to conflict and peace comes along with a certain responsibility, it requires strong analytical depth and skills to report without contributing to further tensions and violence,” said Ms. Judy Wakahiu, Project Manager of UNDP Community Security and Arms Control Project, speaking on behalf of the UNDP Country Director.

“As a journalist, you put your personal view aside and put your nation in front of you,” said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information, Communication, Telecommunication and Postal Services Justine Aler De Mayen in his opening remarks.

“I am a fresh graduate, but now I know how to report a conflict. For example, I know that in a conflict a reporter should not only focus on parties involved in the conflict but also on solutions  being proposed to address the conflict,” said Viola Elias, 24, a recent graduate of journalism from Uganda Christian University. Miss Elias works as a reporter with Eye Radio in Juba.

“It was my first time to attend such training,” said Moses Okwera Daniel, 23, a reporter with Voice of Freedom in Magwi, Imatong State said. “Now I know how to plan and conduct interviews. I have also learned that journalists working in a conflict situation should always take safety precautions in the course of their work.”

In his opening remarks, the representative from the Embassy of Sweden emphasized that freedom of the press and expression is the cornerstone of democracy.

“Freedom of expression which includes press freedom is very critical in peacebuilding and reconciliation,” said Ms. Mwatile Ndinoshiho, Communication Specialist at UNESCO. She also pledged UNESCO’s support and commitment to building the capacity of media practitioners, to advocate for the safety of journalists as well as to provide platforms for all voices to be heard.

The training was conducted under the ‘‘Communicating with Communities’’ project being implemented in South Sudan in partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The activities are funded by the Government of Sweden.