28th May 2023
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Eye Media at 12: A story of success and sustainability challenge

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Saturday, December 10, 2022

Stephen Omiri, the Chief Executive Officer of Eye Media (center and red tie), Patrick Oyet, Chairperson of the Union of Journalists in South Sudan (grey suits), Derren Manning, the Director of Democracy and Governance at the US Embassy in Juba (far right), and other prominent media personnel cut a cake during the 12th anniversary of Eye Media. (Photo: Awan Moses).

Eye Media celebrated the 12 anniversaries of its founding on Saturday in an occasion to reflect on its history, achievements and future challenges.

The media organization was first established in 2003 as Sudan Radio Service – by US-based organization – Education Development Center.

It emerged during the end of the second Sudanese civil war, and reported extensively on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

With its initial offices in Nairobi Kenya, Sudan Radio Service first broadcasted in English, Arabic and six national languages; in Dinka, Azande, Shilluk, Nuer, Bari and Moru.

After South Sudan seceded from the North, it was renamed Eye Radio, under the umbrella of the Eye Media organization.

So far, it has 11 repeaters in Yambio, Wau, Aweil, Kuajok, Renk, Malakal, and Baliet among others, in addition to its main station in Juba.

The radio station reaches between 4 to 5 million listeners and over 17 to 20 million viewers and readers on its websites and social media handles.

The 12th anniversary event was attended by government officials, development and humanitarian partners and members of the public.

Juba County Commissioner Charles Joseph Wani, the Mayor of Juba Michael Ladu Allah-Jabu, and the SPLM Chief Whip Rebecca Joshua were among the distinguished officials present.

Commissioner Charles Wani said communication barrier between the government and media is one of the challenges facing media in the country.

While addressing the event on Saturday, Wani called on the government to cooperate with the media by allowing access to information.

“To build a society, we must build it through media, because radio is the mirror that sees what is bad to be corrected. And when media personnel comes, we begin to run. I want to tell all the politicians and all of us that we can never run,” says Joseph.

“This is because they know the truth about the government and they will come and proclaim it to society.”

“If we don’t give them the information, they will not know the truth, and will begin to collect information from the roads where enemies of the government are found. This is because we are not accessible, then they will go for those who are accessible.”

Sustainability challenges

Since its inception 18 years ago, Eye Media has continued to rely on U.S. financial support to cover its costly operation.

It still depends on the donor support in the meantime due to sustainability challenge.

“This continues to be the largest threat to independent media in the country,” says Stephen Omiri, Chief Executive Officer of Eye Media.

“We are grateful for the US government and several of our partners for their unwavering support.”

In September 2021, Eye Radio was forced to suspend broadcast in national languages due to financial constraints after the end of its funding agreement with its partner – Internews.

However, over the years, Eye Media, through its major activity, has developed partnership with Non-governmental organizations government agencies and telecommunication companies.

On his part, Derren Manning, the Director of Democracy and Governance at the US embassy in Juba noted that the organization plays a major role in politics, economics, and the social fabric of the country.

Addressing the occasion on December 10, Manning said the USAID will continue to provide support to independent media in the country.

“USAID and USA embassy in South Sudan are proud of the history we have with Eye radio and what Eye radio has become eye radio has demonstrated,” he said.

“The media sector can impact every aspect of democracy and governance effort in South Sudan Eye radio has played a leading role in politics, economics, and the social fabric of the country.”

“As we walk to the future, and despite the reduced funding, USAID will continue to support eye radio’s ability to improve access to credible accurate and reliable information for the audience by promoting it sustainability and high-quality program.”


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