Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 7 October 2016

The Voice of America (VOA) coverage on South Sudan


By Steve Paterno

The bias or lack thereof, of Voice of America (VOA) coverage on South Sudan has compelled this author to comment and provide some better perspective on the mentioned above topic. VOA is a multimedia broadcaster, funded by the USA government to project American policies to the outside world. In other words, it is an American government mouthpiece to the outside world. In the homeland, the broadcaster is driven by two guiding principles; which is not to directly inundate the American public with government propaganda and to avoid direct competition with commercially run broadcasters. So, in a capitalistic nation like the US, VOA is threading on a thin line on the role of government funded broadcasting, and with new medium of technology, it makes it much more difficult for American public to escape the very propaganda of its government that the VOA initially intended to evade.

In the context of South Sudan, this becomes more like a perfect case study. The US has been a strategic ally and supporter of South Sudanese people, leading them from their days of struggle through to the independence. True to its commitment or rather interest, in 2010, the US government launched a segment of its mouthpiece via VOA by beginning to produce a weekly 30-minute radio/Internet show, popularly known as “South Sudan in Focus.” The aim of the pilot show was to promote the prospect for independence and peaceful South Sudan.

However, when the relationship between South Sudan and US began to falter, especially with the emergence of the conflict in 2013, the funding to the VOA (South Sudan in Focus) was immediately upgraded. Such increase in the funding to the program was ostensibly in-line with the voices being echoed from the American administrations, Congress, advocacy groups, and other interest groups; all of whom condemning South Sudanese government in particular and the leaders in general. Those voices are in effect not happy with how South Sudan is being run.

As such, South Sudan in Focus or its mother corporation, the VOA, has immediately become embroiled in conflict of South Sudan. Just like the division among South Sudanese who are in conflict among themselves, one cannot help but to witness the same being played out in VOA. As a result, the South Sudanese government and their supporters clearly believe that VOA is being bias. Some of those claims of biasness are legitimate and genuine in nature. For example, VOA provides more platforms to the oppositions of the government of South Sudan. The spaces are even extended to those individuals who are held-bent to violently overthrow the government of South Sudan. It is like South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation hosting al-Baghdadi’s anti-western edicts. This is so much for an ally in such regards. Even when in those instant where VOA occasionally provides a voice for the government of South Sudan, such always ended up in shout out matches, with VOA presenters often interrupting the government representatives. Though the broadcaster prides itself in accuracy, objectivity, and comprehension, its reporting on South Sudan always fall short on those ideals as they are always one sided. One cannot help but wonder as to where those anti-American sentiments in the country coming from if VOA is not in part fueling the emotions.

The truth of the matter though us that until American government attitude changes toward South Sudan, VOA will continue with its biasness. Hence, never expect any changes in tone, content or presentation with the VOA without the changes in American government policy direction. So, it must be concluded, it is what it is: American government propagating its voice via VOA. Like any entity striving for survival, VOA cannot afford to risk some of its programs starved off funding. The broadcaster must toe the line or else.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 8 October 2016 14:17, by Redeemer

    Dr. Riek has propagated a killing culture which will take us not less than 2 centuries to eradicate. You see they refused to command on Dr. Paterno’s article because it has nothing to do with killing or hatred. I personally appreciate Dr. Paterno’s silent analysis of the situation

    repondre message

    • 8 October 2016 21:30, by Dinka Aliap Chawul

      Iam relief really that there’s someone who can speak truth,the VOA and the BBC has lost their true principle of fairness,if u analysis it,you’ll finds that its only S.Sudan were Americans people can walks,sleeps,play and do any works without being kidnapped, kills or harm.
      Its omniscient that US was loves in S.sudan and that every household’s an America or Israeli flags but this is changing rapidl

      repondre message

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Turkey and Africa are building a solid partnership 2018-05-24 22:55:24 by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu As Turkey marks the annual Africa Day, I take the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and rejoice in our developing partnership. Africa’s (...)

Sudan’s Bashir is playing a dangerous game 2018-05-23 05:09:04 The attempt of the Sudanese president to engage with rival regional interests in a bid to stay in power might fail. By Ahmed H Adam Sudan's political crisis is sliding into a dangerous phase. (...)

Salva Kiir’s cunning strategy 2018-05-19 07:40:06 By Duop Chak Wuol Salva Kiir likes to preach democracy to confuse people, looks for ways to legitimize his atrocious regime, uses deception to promote his despotism, and calculatingly waits for (...)


Latest Press Releases

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.