Juba: Community media stakeholders from over twenty broadcast community radio stations participated in a two-day media engagement in juba. The 2-day stakeholders’ workshop aimed at exploring ways to further strengthen sustainability of the community media sector in the country at both policy and practice levels.

Over the years, community radio has proved to be effective in providing platforms for marginalized groups to access information, provided opportunities for the women and youth to participate in community matters/issues. Hence, during the 2-day stakeholders’ engagement, Community Media Sustainability and the UNESCO Policy Series on Community Media Sustainability were indepthly explored and key recommendations developed with the aim to strengthen community media sustainability in South Sudan.

 During her remarks, Ms. Josephine Achiro, Chairperson Community Media Network South Sudan, noted that community media plays a key role in promoting democracy, good governance and setting the agenda for it’s citizens, roles that cannot be underrated. She therefore, called-on for community media policies to be strengthened to ensure progress and growth of the community media sector in South Sudan. Growth and sustainability of the sector will benefit many citizens specially those at the grassroots and marginalized groups.

While Mr. Justine Jada, a participant and Manager, Equator Broadcasting Cooperation, stated that the workshop was timely, as one of the greatest threat to the survival of community media especially radios, is the lack of resources and inadequate sustainability measures in place right from the start of the establishment of the community media platforms. He called on fellow radio managers and development partners to strengthen support and measures aimed at promoting sustainability of the community radios around the country.

 During her closing remarks, Ms. Doreen Loboka, UNESCO, Communication and Information National Specialist, urged radio managers to promote community ownership of the platforms as an effective means of ensuring sustainability of the community radios. In addition, she urged the government to further extend support by implementing the media laws with the aim to create a conducive environment for growth and ensure sustainability of community media platforms, as access to information and freedom of expression are fundamental for the growth of societies and achievement of sustainable development.

UNESCO is commitment to promote freedom of expression, access to information, safety of journalists and community media development in South Sudan at both policy and practice levels through its Multi Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of journalists.