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By Ruot George
John Agok is a journalist rich in both broadcast and print. He has worked for eight years in radio broadcast and two years in the print. He is now celebrating ten years in journalism with a prominent level of success amid challenges.
He has also been a victim of false accusations and arrest. Agok was arrested in both 2018 and 2019, accused of embezzlement but acquitted by the court in Lakes State.
He was arbitrarily detained for 21 days and chained with some suspects of very big cases.
The Union of Journalists sat down with Agok, delving into his life and profession.
Here are excerpts of the interview.
Question: Are you ok telling us briefly about your education history?
Answer. I went to both primary and secondary schools in Kenya. I graduated in both Media Development Institute (MDI) and Electrical Engineering with Advance certificates.
Qn: Why have you preferred journalism over other careers?
Ans. I am passionate about writing and reading always and I have found that journalism is my heartbeat.
Qn: What is your biggest achievement since you joined the media industry in 2011?
Ans. I changed the society’s mindset from negativity to positivity in terms of socio-economic development. I also shaped the society through my journalism.
I ascended to the position of Station Manager at a community radio and I am currently working for a leading newspaper in the country.
Qn: Do you have other achievements apart from the media?
Ans. I taught for several years in both primary and secondary schools to impart knowledge that helped foster developing and changing attitudes in the society.
I was a headteacher in one primary school and also held several positions in both UN Agencies and NGOs.
Qn: What challenges have you faced as a journalist in a fragile country like South Sudan?
Ans. I got arrested twice when carrying out my duties in the field of journalism. One was when I got blackmailed of embezzlement by the State Minister of Information leading to my arrest on the order of the State governor.
The second was when I was arbitrarily detained by the very state governor. I was kept in incommunicado in very horrible conditions.
Qn: Where do you see South Sudan Media in five years from now?
Ans. South Sudan will improve given the resilience of our media practitioners with zeal to promote vibrant democratic society through pluralistic media.
However, the government still maintain statusquo of being harsh to media and forcing self-censorship to individuals who have no options than that.