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JUBA - 29 Mar 2024

UJOSS seeks funds for nationwide election reporting training

The President of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan, Oyet Patrick Charles, is urging the European Union and other media development partners to assist in countrywide training for journalists on election reporting. 

Oyet made these remarks during a Roundtable Discussion on South Sudan Media Landscape and Elections in Juba, held on Wednesday evening at the European Union compound and opened by Ambassador Timo Olkkonen, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Sudan.

“As a Union of Journalists, we are preparing to send a group of our members to a neighbouring country to observe how journalists there cover elections,” Oyet stated. “We are about to commence training sessions for journalists on election reporting. While resource constraints have delayed these efforts, it’s crucial for us to prepare as journalists for the upcoming elections, which may take place in December 2024 or later.”

Oyet also highlighted significant challenges facing the media landscape in the country. “As we discuss election preparations, it’s evident that more resources are needed. In some regions, such as Kuajok FM in Warrap State, there are notable challenges. For instance, the radio station has only one recorder to cover elections, raising concerns about their ability to effectively report,” Oyet emphasized. “I appeal for increased support for the media and civil society to adequately prepare for elections.”

Ambassador Timo Olkkonen stressed the importance of media freedom both before and during the December 2024 elections to ensure their credibility and fairness. “Media and civic space are essential prerequisites for conducting elections,” stated the EU Head of Delegation to South Sudan during the opening of the round table meeting.

He further explained, “Our support is geared towards strengthening UJOSS, with a budget of 1 million Euros allocated for activities such as investigative journalism, rumour control, conflict mitigation, legal remedies mapping, and digital safety.”

Olkkonen emphasised the need to create an enabling environment for the elections, highlighting the significance of key institutions like the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, civil society organisations, journalists, and media outlets.

Counsel Omara Joseph Wani from the Advocacy and Protection for South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network hailed the event as a milestone in enhancing media coverage during the 2024 elections. “I believe this event will provide valuable insights and strategies to safeguard the work of media and civil society as we approach the 2024 elections,” he commented.

UJOSS, in collaboration with the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network and Nonviolent Peaceforce, initiated a Round Table Discussion on the South Sudan Media Landscape and Elections in Juba on Wednesday. The discussions centre on how the current media landscape will impact the upcoming December 2024 elections.