By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
- The Citizen Chairman of Board and Editor in Chief in Juba. Dec. 12, 2010 (ST)
December 12, 2010 (JUBA) – The founder of an independent newspaper The Citizen Nhial Bol says there are many challenges in the media in Sudan including press freedom, independent ownership and lack of professional journalists.
Bol, told Sudan Tribune in Juba that operating in northern Sudan is difficult especially when covering the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur.
He says that the Khartoum government has often attempted to block the work of The Citizen, which was established in 2005.
But he said that there were challenges in the whole of Sudan covering the south’s referendum on independence, with northern politicians advocating unity while in the southern government has openly called for the south to vote for separation.
Bol also said there are not enough professional journalists or independent media houses in Sudan. He said that The Citizen recently needed a bank loan to stay in operation.
He said that The Citizen was transferring itself to the south so they did not become isolated should the south vote for independence.
Bol said in South Sudan there is a different ideology in terms of understanding the role of the media. He said that it was easy to have dialogue but said that in the six years since the north south peace deal media laws have not been established in the south.
He said the lack of a media law, which he says he has been fighting for means that journalists can be arrested at the order of politician.
Bol said, he is now preparing to set up a printing press in Juba that will not only produce newspapers but also print books and examination papers for schools in the south.