Despite Peace Efforts, South Sudan’s “Reformed” Television Remains Largely Biased!
May 26, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– Although many South Sudanese expect many changes with the return of peace, South Sudan Television(SSTV) which is controlled by Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of information, Malaak Ayuen and Garang John remains largely tribal and a stray bullet for the former government of Salva Kiir.
Raised over the months by members of minority communities and NGOs, the national television is seen as a launching pad for the former government to preach its policies such as “28 states” which favors mostly Salva Kiir’s inner circle and members of his ethnic Dinka tribe.
Disappointment that his Chairman’s speeches are either screened or not broadcasted, Machar’s press secretary James Gatdet Dak, accused the government of violating the peace agreement through its activities on SSTV.
“South Sudan Television or SSTV in Juba has been censoring news stories coming from the meetings and speeches of the First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny. This is a violation of the August 2015 peace agreement, and particularly the freedom of speech. It is an unfortunate attempt to undermine his authority and sabotage his activity.” Dak went public on his social media.
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Gatdet believes that although SSTV is said to have been transformed into an independent corporation, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) since last month, it is still being financed and controlled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting headed by Minister Micheal Makuei Lueth.
The opposition regrets that the new Broadcasting Corporation is still the same SSTV that was biasedly used by the SPLM/SPLA governments of Salva Kiir for the last 11 years.
“The management of the TV has been illegally censoring whatever message that comes from the Office of the First Vice President.” Dak said.
The First Vice President, who spent the last two years in war-ragged region of Upper Nile, has drawn a lot of attention since his arrival in Juba last month.
While Dr. Machar is hosting foreign diplomats and groups of South Sudanese communities, who pay him courtesy at his tents based Jebel Kunjur, the First Vice President has visited churches including the predominantly Dinka-Bor Emmanuel Jieng(Dinka) Church in Juba this month.
Machar’s attendant at Equatorians’ dominated Catholic Parish, Nuer dominated Presbyterian and the Dinka dominated Anglican churches have attracted a lot of attentions as South Sudanese continue to resist Peace and Reconciliation.
According to James Gatdet Dak, the national Television also played a negative part by trying to manipulate the content of Machar’s speech and only broadcast only one-sided stories.
“While they broadcast some of his official meetings and speeches in churches, they yet censor the contents and remove unwanted ones. It is worse with the speeches he has been making to community leaders and members who have been visiting him at his Jebel Kujur residence.” Gatdet Dak said.
“The TV management, or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for that matter, has completely refused to broadcast such interactions with the public. I myself have taken to the SSTV such video clips and messages but none of them has been broadcasted for the past two weeks.” Gatdet explains.
Gatdet calls on the Kiir’s side to stop the war mentality rivalry and use the national television to serve the interest of all South Sudanese nationals.
Many other IO members, who are serving key ministerial positions have also picked up their new offices and embraces their duties with enthusiasm, however, little goes on air under the watch of Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
Within the last two weeks, ministers like Hon. Prof Adwok Nyaba, the Cabinet Minister for Science and Technology, Hon. Mabior Garang de Mabior and Hon. Husein Maar have held major events including strike of Unviersities employees, however, their speeches are believed to have been either siphoned or not broadcasted by the SSTV.
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