UNESCO: Strengthening Policy Implementation for stakeholders through Capacity Building in South Sudan
The Union of journalists of South Sudan with support from UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) conducted a three days training (9 to 11 September 2020) on media laws that brought together thirty participants from the law society, media sector, law enforcement agencies and members of the civil society. The training aimed at strengthening knowledge on the South Sudan Media Laws for the three groups targeted and enhancing their capacities to enforce safety and protection of journalists.
Speaking at the workshop, the Interim Chairperson of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) Mr. Oliver Modi said knowledge is power and knowledge is key to all aspects of development. Mr. Modi urged the journalists to use the knowledge they acquired during the three days training to improve their reporting skills whereas the members of the laws and civil society should understand how the law is correctly interpreted and applied in the courts of law.
Speaking on behalf of UNESCO Juba Office, Mr. Tap Raj Pant noted that members of the media have a critical role to play in the development of society and as such, journalists should not be threatened or harassed while carrying out their duties. He added that freedom of expression is key to empowering populations through facilitating dialogues, participation and democracy and thereby makes inclusive sustainable development possible. He also urged the government to prioritize implementation of the media laws, which should serve as tools for the achievement of a free, pluralistic, independent and thriving media in South Sudan.
For her part, Ms. Olivia, a lawyer and participant at the workshop, thanked UJOSS and UNESCO for conducting the workshop. Ms. Olivia testified that; “The workshop has really helped me and my colleagues present to understand the South Sudan Media laws and other international conventions that safeguard freedom of expression. We assure you that the knowledge gained will be shared with our colleagues that are not present at the workshop”.
Representing the Police, Mr. Lawrence Sombe expressed the view that South Sudan has one of the best laws in the Eastern Africa region, but the issue is to ensure their effective implementation. “But I want to thank UJOSS and UNESCO for organizing this kind of training; this is the first time that I have attended this kind of training which has given us a platform to sit in one place as law enforcement agencies, Journalists, law society and Civil Society. The forum has made me understand the media laws and I believe from today if media cases are brought to us as police, we will be able to use the right approach of handling using the media right laws”. Lawrence added.
The UNESCO/ IPDC project is aimed at improving the development of the media sector in South Sudan, to create good relations and dialogue between journalists, lawyers, and police and to promote an independent media, access to information and freedom of expression. UNESCO is committed to promoting freedom of expression, safety of journalists, access to information and building capacity of national stakeholders with the aim to improve the media environment through achievement of an independent, pluralistic, safe and diverse media.