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Upper Nile recovering from war but still a media desert

Upper Nile recovering from war but still a media desert
A general shot of destroyed Malakal TV station in Hai Tevizion Residential Area. [Photo: Ruot George]

The ministry of information in the revitalized transitional government of Upper Nile State says the radio station which was first established as Radio Malakal before the independence in 2011 was destroyed when the war broke out at the end of December 2013.

Nyok John De-Dudi who is the acting director-general of the ministry of information in the state says the ministry is working along with the national ministry of information and communication in Juba to rehabilitate the station to disseminate the peace deal. 

“When the station is on air, we can easily disseminate the peace messages to people outside the state capital of the state. We can also be able to send messages of peace as you can see people are coming back slowly from the PoC – protection of civilians’ site”

Mr De-Dudi explained that the job of the state officials in the ministry is to coordinate and report to the national ministry in Juba. 

“As you know it’s the responsibility of the national ministry. This is what we cannot do ourselves the states. Our role on this is to supervise we take complaints and to Juba,” he said.

“Actually we have been knocking on doors, we have been moving, we went to Juba, we went to the office of the national communication authority to tell them that the telecommunication system in Malakal has a problem.

“Zain and MTN networks are very poor that you cannot send documents online, you cannot use Facebook well. We reached Juba regarding that, we met the national ministry of information so that we get back on the air, we are waiting for their response,” he added.

Radio Malakal was renamed as South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation in 2013. The TV was shut down by the conflict in 2013. 

The tallest antenna according to the Nyok was destroyed during the war in 2015 when the town was totally deserted. 

“So the entire system as you can see this thing has been looted and this was a full set of a TV station. If you see this state it’s the bordering state to Ethiopia and does not have any radio station yet by then this station was broadcasting up to Ethiopia but now even in Malakal, we don’t have it,” Nook lamented.

“We want the national government to rebuild it because it does not belong to us alone, it’s a national utility.”

In October 2015, President Salva Kiir decreed 28 states which were later increased to 32 states. Upper Nile State was divided into four states Fashoda, Central Upper Nile, Maiwut, Western Nile and Latjor states.

Upper Nile state had radio stations in Malakal for the government; Sobat F.M which was established by Internews in Nasir and destroyed in March 2014, and the catholic radio station voice of love.

Currently, there are two radio stations in the state one in Maban County and another one in the United Nations’ protection camp all managed by NGOs and mostly broadcasting content related to humanitarian information services and covering a radius of 20 KM according to the team leader of the Nile F.M in Malakal PoCs.

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