19 Oct 2018

 

Workshop To Promte Peace, Reconciliation Held In Yei

Journalists drawn from various media houses in Yei River State have been equipped with new skills on the role of media in promoting peace, reconciliation and mitigating hate speeches across social media plat forms.

Workshop To Promte Peace, Reconciliation Held In Yei
Journalists from different media houses in Yei during a workshop [Gurtong photo|Daniel Friday]

By Daniel Friday Martin

YEI, 12 May 2018 [Gurtong] –
The first ever workshop under the MATCH For Peace project was organized and funded by Community Development centre-Africa (CDC) aimed at instilling skills and knowledge to media practitioners on how to educate the public on responsive use of social media forms and pass accurate information so as to promote peaceful co-existence and reconciliation among the communities both within South Sudan and neighboring Uganda.
 
CDC’s Executive Director, Martin Sebit told Gurtong that hate speech had and continuous to negatively and directly or indirectly incite violence in Yei River State.

He says since the onset of the crisis in the area, thousands of photos or images and distorted messages circulated on social media plat forms to a greater extend continue to fuel the escalation of the conflict in the area and ignited community hatred and division.
 
“Today still exists traffic of such headlines spreading rumors of war, hate in an inflammatory language and unethical discourses that may continue to tear apart communities that once lived in peace and harmony since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement signed in 2005,” said Sebit.

Sebit says the workshop will help journalists and presenters to accelerate actions to counter and combat online hate speech and mitigate hate speeches and inflammatory languages.

“The urgency to educate South Sudanese about hate speech and what differentiates it from freedom of speech, is now so as to pave the way for a more shade, conscious and attentive use of language ‘in the streets’, media, and social media platforms to reverse the hate speech-trend and strengthen a culture of peace, reconciliation, harmony and social cohesion, fostering tolerance, empathy, and mutual respect” he concluded.

Participants have collectively identified the precarious wave of violence coupled with the worsening economic situation and power ambition as some of the main triggers of hate speech in Yei River State.

“In our daily interactions with the public, we discovered that the current political-Economic challenges, tribalism, illiteracy, power struggle, revenge, poor governance restricted freedom of speech and continuous human rights violations as main reasons for rising hate speech in the communities” the group members said.

The journalists pointed that hate speech has resulted into deep hatred, division, conflicts, corruption and loss of lives and destruction of people’s properties.

The participants jointly recommended that to end hate speech and promote reconciliation, South Sudanese leaders and the citizens needed massive civic education on the importance of “public peace-reconciliation-communication skills” so as to foster healing and togetherness.

The group also suggested that policy makes and parliamentarians should develop mechanisms to pass laws that controls, prohibits and punishes culprits of hate speech in the State.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, King Martin Omalla of Liberty Fm thanked the organizers of the workshop and appealed for more training for journalists on the area of peace building and accurate information reporting.

“This is the first media peace workshop we have ever attended in Yei since the outbreak of the violence in 2016. Our call to the organizations is that it’s time to work together with media practitioners in promoting peace and reconciliation in Yei River State. We need more capacity building workshops or trainings like this ones so that we are equipped with new communications skills in our various media houses” he said.

King Martin urges the government to grant free space for media practitioners to exercise their roles and responsibilities effectively without fear from intimidation, arrest and detention adding that media plays an in important role in shaping societies.

Daniel Woli Comboni acting Director General in the State Ministry of Information and Communications called on the media practitioners in the State to stick to their profession by reporting accurate and balanced information to the public.

Comboni thanked the organization for helping orienting media personnel on its efforts to combat online hate speech.said Comboni.

“I am very happy with such workshops, our media need such positive skills so that they help to inform the public with correct messages that promotes peaceful co-existence instead of hatred and violence that divides communities”.

 

 

 
 

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