Prominent Journalist Says Vibrant Media Hinges On Political Stability

By Seba Martin

JUBA, July 13 (UJOSS Web) – The development of a vibrant pulsating media in South Sudan depends on political stability in the country, Koang Pal Chang, a prominent active media personality in the capital Juba said. The new nation has been wallowing in a devastating crisis since 2013 and which left institutions including the media struggling. Journalists and media outlets have been viewed with suspicion and threats and intimidations against them has led to widespread fear and censorship in the press. Chang who is the station manager of Eye Radio in Juba knows all too well how the media has been affected. He told the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) website that a vibrant media in South Sudan can only be realized once the country resolved its crisis.

Chang cautioned fellow journalism on misusing their profession, urging them to embrace professionalism as the country wads out of the crisis into the path of recovery. “The only way for a journalist to exercise their duties well is to embrace media ethics and stick to their code of conduct,” he said. “Once there is peace and stability in the country, [there will be] change of attitudes towards media and its practitioners,” Pal told UJOSS. Chang expressed optimism an ongoing constitution-making process in the country will strongly defend and protect journalists and the media fraternity.

Chang was born around 51 years ago in Ulang County of Upper Nile state, and grew up as a refugee in Ethiopia. He is fluent in English, Arabic and Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia. In 1993, After the overthrow of Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia, Chang moved to Nairobi in neighboring Kenya and enrolled in the institute of Mass Communication in 1996 and completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication in 2012.

Referring to South Sudan’s current predicaments, Chang said many journalists and media practitioners have fled the country as a result of torture, brutal arrests and being seen as political spies without knowing that journalists work according to ethics. For access to accurate information dissemination in South Sudan, there should be a positive attitude towards media workers rather than depicting journalists as opposed to the security sector, he said.

“Journalists in South Sudan don’t work because it is a well-paid job but they want to tell the stories of South Sudan to the generations to come,” Chang said.

He noted that South Sudanese generally are becoming more positive to the media, using it to express their desires, plans and programs, though sometimes they suddenly turn against it.
Chang doubles also as the chairperson of the Editors Forum. As a child growing up, he dreamt of becoming a medical doctor but could only get a scholarship, as a refugee, to study journalism. Chang’s passion in the field was shaped by the BBC’s Focus on Africa program. He simply loved listening to it. It was in listening to news on radio that he first heard of “government” a word etched in his memories to date. Pal has more than 16 years in the media industry, and particularly as a news editor.

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