Home | News    Saturday 18 August 2012

South Sudanese journalists accused of taking bribes


August 17, 2012 (KAMPALA) – A number of reporters working for radio, newspapers and South Sudan TV have told the Sudan Tribune that they have witnessed colleagues taking payments in return for writing positive stories about particular businesses, or taking the news angle desired by some politicians.

Some journalists have demanded cash for transport or have dropped stories when they have not received payment. Corruption is one of the biggest problems facing the world’s youngest nation.

An independent South Sudan media organisation based in Juba has condemned the practice of receiving cash for stories or bribes as "unethical".

David de Dau, the head of Agency for Independence Media (AIM), said that the allegations put to him by Sudan Tribune "disheartening for a country that is just beginning.”

South Sudan became independent in July 2011 as part of a peace deal with Khartoum. However, the former rebels that now govern South Sudan have at times failed to live up to the values of they fought for, as noted in a recent letter from President Salva Kiir to senior officials asking them to return over $4 billion funds stolen since 2005.

Allegations of journalists being paid to cover events has been widely talked about in South Sudan in recent months.

Manyang David, a reporter for The Juba Post newspaper and a stringer for the Voice of America South Sudan in Focus, told Sudan Tribune that he saw a reporter being paid in Juba to make sure that a story, about the Miss South Sudan contest helping an orphanage, was broadcast on South Sudan Television. David said that he was not paid as he didn’t ask, adding that “journalism is not for sale.”

Another reporter working for a local radio station in Juba says he witnessed the same scenario when the Kenyan Commercial Bank (KCB) took reporters to Lanya county, Central Equatoria state to launch a project funded by the bank.

"My colleague who worked for a newspaper asked [that I] demand money from the KCB", the reporter said. The reporter, who requested anonymity, added that the newspaper reporter said "it was our right" to get paid by the bank to cover their story.

The reporters who attended the event in Lanya did not ask for money and the newspaper declined to publish the story. A week later, the reporter alleged, KCB summoned the newspaper reporter to seek explanation on why the news was not published.

Sudan Tribune’s efforts to reach KCB spokesperson for comment on Friday were futile.

The newspaper reporter said he was too busy to speak to Sudan Tribune on Friday but the anonymous radio reporter said that KCB offered 5,000 South Sudanese Pounds (SSP), approximately $1,300, for the story about the Lanya County project in the next publication.

Reporters accused of indulging in this practice who have been contacted by Sudan Tribune either declined to respond or completely denied the allegation. But one student doing an internship at a media organisation in Juba admitted being bribed to cover a story in July. The reporter attributed accepting bribe to not receiving expenses from the media house.

“There is no transport, no lunch or any form of financial support,” the reporter told Sudan Tribune.

Agency for Independent Media also claims that reporters accept bribe. The chairperson of AIM, David de Dau, says there is need to train local journalists to be more ethical and observe code of journalistic principles. Dau admits that funding is main factor.

“I think journalists need some capacity building in regards [….] as well as persuading their employers to raise their salaries,” he said.

When government officials travel outside of the capital Juba for major events or political functions, they move with a large group of reporters from the main media houses in the country. Transport, lunch and coverage allowances are allegedly provided by the government putting the independence of the reporters in jeopardy.

Sudan Tribune was unable to reach a government official for comment on Friday.

South Sudan has few trained journalists. Less than 30% of the population are able to read and write, a legacy of decades of civil war that preceded a peace deal in 2005.


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  • 18 August 2012 08:11, by Dinkawarrior

    Truly believed, they’re all traitors who want to sell out the nation for some cash money. Is it not horrible? Shame on them. By the way, who is that bribing people to say unnecessary words? If found he or she must be exceuted properly!

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  • 18 August 2012 09:05, by Robot

    Very true and sad that this people are doing it in exchange of money, i personally have seen reporters driving in GXR V8 Vehicle and i was amazed.. this are people from SSTV.. This is the station were there is a lot of corruption/bribing. i have been very suspicious about the since day one, there are stories they don’t want to cover.

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  • 18 August 2012 11:06, by Bol Pur

    I agree with David De Dau, Journalists in South Sudan need media training to have ethics of media. Another thing is low payment from independence media houses as well as government controlled media. Bribery in media law is crime and such Journalists must be dismissed from their positions. I would like AIM to take up initiative of registering all who so called journalists in South Sudan.

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  • 18 August 2012 12:32, by Gabriel KK

    Those responsible Must face the book and remove from media in this Country. what I know so far is that, News paper,radio or TV ask for money when ones advertising. journalist should not use media for writting positive stories about individual, Organisation or Government. Shame on them!

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  • 18 August 2012 13:38, by nancy

    am very sori 2 here this! being a journalist its unethical 2 take bribe however,i have also cum a cross some of them but all this is coz by having relationship wiz top officials in the training pipo are told never 2 be friend with top officials but such journalist should be jailed until further notice & u no wat? media & government are responsible 4 the on going corruption in RSS

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  • 18 August 2012 19:57, by jjb south

    Manyang David should have taken some evidence & proscuted those criminals,but law in S.S is in the hands of illiterates,power hungry men.
    for David De Dau, you know about this practice going on but no action taken.
    what is your roll in that position you hold? "self proclaimed idiot".
    people within your profession are messing,as leader you do nothing but admit.

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    • 18 August 2012 21:58, by panom lualbil

      Yes, Manyang David should have taken some evidence & prosecuted those criminals, but laws in S Sudan are in hands of coward, slave and power hungry man called DR.RIAK MACHAR [TEET DE ANYIL.]

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      • 18 August 2012 22:55, by Dinkawarrior

        Matur Angok!
        Bonifacio Taban: Must be arrested and taken to court in order to tell us who gave him orders to write such a confusion words against Mach Paul. According to his article titled "S. Sudan Attempts to Block Alleged Coup Reporting" I personal thanks Gen. Malaak Ayuen Ajok for his encouragement to South Sudanese people, the day after the allegations against Bor people. He step up and trie

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        • 18 August 2012 23:10, by Dinkawarrior

          He step up and tried his best to calm down the situation. That spirit is what we need not be naive person always, he made this case to be simple to many of us but we are still need clarification from Gen. Mach Paul and Dr. Majak Agot whom have been accused of coup. They have to be on TV live with Gen. Malaak Ayuen Ajok. in order for us to hear from them. The Kiir’s Family Cabinet need to behavior.

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          • 18 August 2012 23:25, by Dinkawarrior

            They have looted the government money and they’re on their ways to bribe everybody to talk shit. President Kiir need to distance himself from his Family extremists or his Family kitchen cabinet. He is South Sudan President and he must listens his National Cabinet, we have so many advisors from our nation but they don’t have rooms due to his family members who controlled everything. Shame on them!

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