AMDISS/SRFE Meet Cabinet and Undersecretaries of the GoSS

Following a morning meeting in Juba on Wednesday September 20th with Undersecretaries
of the ministries of the Government of Southern Sudan, GoSS, representatives
of Association for Media Development in South Sudan, AMDISS, and of the closely
linked Southern Roundtable for Freedom of Expression, SRFE, were invited to
address and discuss with the Cabinet of the GoSS pertinent issues related to
the development of media and human rights activities in South Sudan.

Date: 5th February 2007

Juba, September 21, 2006

Presided over by the President of the GoSS, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Minister of Information (Radio & Television), Dr. Samson L Kwaje, welcomed the media and human rights delegation and invited the Chairman of AMDISS – who is also Chairman of SRFE – Mr. Jacob J. Akol, to brief the Cabinet on the activities of AMDISS and partners thus far.

Mr Akol appreciated the honour and courtesy extended to the delegation and informed the Cabinet that AMDISS/SRFE activities have been encouraged and supported from the very beginning by, first the leadership of the SPLM in the bush, and later by the same leadership in government. The first meeting of South Sudan independent media managers and editors which formed AMDISS, said Akol, was flagged off in Nairobi in October 2003 by non other than Dr. Samson Kwaje himself, then the spokesman for SPLM/A.

In his address to the first media meeting, Dr Kwaje brought a message and word of encouragement from late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, who intended to open the meeting himself but could not make it in the last minute due to “pressing peace negation issues” then going on in Naivasha, Kenya.

But his message was clear: As SPLM expected to be the recognised government soon in South Sudan, it will need to come up with media policies that are encouraging and supportive of media development and human rights activities in South Sudan; that the SPLM would warmly welcome contributions from media and human rights professionals.

Following that first meeting, funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, AMDISS embarked on developing close relationship with the regional media and partnership with likeminded and reliable international organisations, from which emerged what had become known as the “Consortium”, consisting of AMDISS as the local South Sudanese media entity and three international organisations, namely the London-based Article 19, Copenhagen-based International Media Support, IMS, and the Oslo-based Norwegian People’s Aid, NPA. Material assistance and moral support soon followed from organisations such as the Open Society Foundation and UNESCO.

With full support and encouragement from the three members of the consortium, Akol told the cabinet, AMDISS spread its wings to lead initiatives and activities of the Southern Roundtable on Freedom of Expression.

The first meeting of SRFE/AMDISS inside South Sudan following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, took place in Rumbek in September 2005. That meeting, Akol informed the ministers, was opened by the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who challenged the meeting to immediately come up with media and human rights principles that would enlighten government policy on such matters. Accordingly the meeting came up with the “Rumbek Declaration” (see Documents on the Gurtong website www.gurtong.com). This document was soon after the meeting presented to Dr. Machar in Juba by a delegation from AMDISS/SRFE.

The Rumbek Declaration became the basis for “Khartoum-Rumbek Declaration” in December 2005.

AMDISS/SRFE met fo

Posted in: Governance
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