The Managing Director of the Media Authority says the restrictions on access to information gives way to untruthful news reporting – and has strained relations between the government and the media.
Elijah Alier Kuai said the media in the country sometimes does not report the truth, because the government limits access to credible information.
“There are always adversarial relationships between the government and the media, because media sometimes does not report truth,” said Alier.
“Instead, they impose their unverified views in the news. This is especially when the government does not release all the information to the media,”
He adds: “It gives some unprincipled media chances to concoct their own stories which is not necessarily the absolute truth.”
While making a presentation on Media Communication and Access to Information during the ongoing Town Hall meeting in Juba, Alier told participants that the media has the power to influence positively or negatively.
He urged the media to be independent, transparent, truthful and objective in disseminating information – to enable the public and the government to make informed decisions.
The media regulator also said the government, through its mandated entities and individuals, is entitled to release information to the media in press releases, reports or texts of important speeches.
Alier further encouraged the public to use social media responsibly and be mindful of cyber-crimes.
“Social media platform is sometimes wrongly used by some activists and critics in spreading hate speech, attacking the Government and to connect the rest of the society.”
“The Town Hall Meeting seeks to devise mechanisms to promote changes in public attitudes and practices by fostering dialogues, cooperation and trust between the government, civil society and the media.”
Since its establishment in 2016, the Media Authority said it has registered 238 media entities comprising print, broadcast and other media enterprises operating in South Sudan.
The regulatory body says it has investigated and resolved over 87 breaches of media ethics and violations of media laws and took appropriate actions in accordance with the provisions of Media Authority Act 2013.
These include rejecting more than 20 foreign journalists for allegedly promoting hate speech and incitement to the public.
The Media and Access to Information meeting in Juba was organized by the National Communication Authority, a directorate of the national Ministry of Information and Communication.
It brought together governments’ Undersecretaries, Press Secretaries, Official Spokespersons from the Security Sector, Director Generals of the government’s Information and communication entities, Media Managers and other stakeholders.
The forum seeks to devise mechanisms to promote changes in public attitudes and practices by fostering dialogues, cooperation and trust between the government, civil society and the media.
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