Media for Peace forum held in Bentiu

18 Sep 2013

Media for Peace forum held in Bentiu

17 September 2013 - Journalists have a vital role to play in peace-building work among communities, the acting State Minister of Information and Communication Tebourn Jany Rial said at a media forum in the Unity State capital Bentiu today.

"Media should be accurate and they need to take time to explore the roots of conflict in depth," said Mr. Rial. "They need to be proactive in reaching the sources."

Thirty-five participants from state-run and privately owned media outlets as well as civil society organizations attended the one-day meeting, which was organized by UNMISS in collaboration with the Unity State Ministry of Information and Communication.

"It was important for us members of civil society to learn more about the role of media in community as we work with journalists closely," said Rebecca Nyakilam, a peace and gender officer working with Universal Intervention and Development Organization, a non-governmental organization.

Participants agreed that journalists must have the courage to expose cover-ups and hidden agendas. They also said in addition to relaying messages from policy makers, it was necessary to pay listen to the opinions of ordinary people in the local community.

Discussing conflict mitigation and the role of women in peace building, the forum highlighted the important contribution that radio can make towards increasing the participation of women in community events.

"It was good for us to get knowledge about how to talk with the communities about cattle raiding and all other conflicts," said Bentiu FM presenter Tap Mark. "We also appreciated getting to know more about gender-based violence and women rights."