Paul Bonju Tells Journalists: ‘You Are Your Audience Keepers’

By Chany Ninrew

On the World Radio Day celebration that was held on the 13th Febuary-2020 at Rainbow playground in Juba, the head of the South Sudan Parliamentary Committee for Information, Hon. Paul Yoane Bonju warned journalists of the contents they broadcast on daily basis.

In his keynote speech, the lawmaker and former radio journalist hailed broadcast media practitioners for choosing a noble profession.

“Those of you, who work in the media, and more importantly the broadcast media like radio, you are like the sun to the world. Again you are a light to the human race, because radio is the most effective, most reliable, most simple and less expensive to buy and maintained when compared to television and the print media. Let us take this profession as a career because media is no longer an art as it used to be. Let’s us remind ourselves when seated behind a radio microphone that we are our listeners’ keepers. We should broadcast reliable, fair, quality and comprehensive materials that build bridges of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness,” Bonju advised.

The broadcaster encouraged the hundreds of journalists seated at the event not to shy away from telling the truth, but strictly warned journalists to desist from broadcasting contents that “generate hatred and destroy societies.”

In another remark which he cited as the main setback in the South Sudan media, he admitted that the country’s key information and media institutions are led by the wrong people, who are qualified in other academic fields.

“Part of our problem in South Sudan is that our key media institutions have never been headed by professional media practitioners. People who are highly qualified in other academic fields have been leading us broadcasters from 2005 up to now. Among them are agriculturalists, bankers, lawyers and medical doctors who have been struggling to try their level best in leading us, but unfortunately, our audience do not get the quality message they are supposed to receive through their radios. Give the task to professional broadcasters, and surely, the citizens of this country will accurately follow their President, governors, legislators and judiciary.”

Paul’s remark was echoed afterwards by the master of ceremony, DJ Lomisak, who jokingly paraphrased that “you cannot employ a medical doctor to be a minister of finance.”

The speaker further extended his appeal to the state governors to assign professional media practitioners to the radio stations in their respective states.

He concluded by calling upon those he alleged to be “holding our resources, be it within or abroad” to release the money for the training of radio broadcasters and for paying their financial obligations.

The event that was celebrated under the theme, “Radio and Diversity for Peaceful Coexistence” hosted key government officials among them the undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Justin Alier, representatives of US Embassy, Internews and AMDISS, Professors, Managing Directors and journalists. Three peace journalism awards of 2019 were won by Rosemary Wilfred, Chanwat Edward and Chan Paul.

February 13th is commemorated annually as the day the United Nations, in its 26th session of the general conference proclaimed the establishment of United Nations Radio in 1946. The historic day was recommended to the general conference by UNESCO executive board as the proclamation of World Radio Day in 2011, and fully endorsed by the UN in 2013.

UNESCO with the support of a number of continental broadcasting Unions and partners ensured that the event is annually commemorated to create awareness among the public and the media of the importance and power of radio and to encourage decision makers to provide access to information through radio.

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