Inside battle for the soul of Juba Monitor

Inside battle for the soul of Juba Monitor
Juba Monitor’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Nimiriano. [Photo: courtesy]

The operation of Juba Monitor, which is arguably the mother of print media in South Sudan, has remained on suspension since April 13. This has been further complicated by the recent arrest of its Editor-in-Chief, Anna Nimiriano.

While Nimiriano was arrested by police on Wednesday, the circumstances of the closure of the media house still remained unclear.

But on Wednesday, the family of the founder of the publishing company, the late Alfred Taban Logune, released a statement accusing the administrators of the Juba Monitor of an attempted hostile takeover.

There is a court order that froze all Juba Monitor bank accounts and the activities of the newspaper and appointed three administrators, two from the plaintiff and defendant and one from the court, to observe the assets of the Grand Africa Media Company and Newspaper.

Though it remained unclear what triggered all this, the family of the late Alfred Taban – founder and owner of the Grand Africa Media Company and newspaper – said the conflict revolves around who owns the Juba Monitor.

Face of conflict

On Wednesday, the family of the late released a statement in which, according to them, the dispute began immediately after their father’s death in 2019 with the administration of the newspaper trying to exclude the heirs of Taban’s legacy.

“We have battled this case since the death of our father in silence, and we have not left a rock unturned to try and find an amicable settlement before taking the case to court.  We have fought not only in silence but also in pain, grief, and aloneness. “

“Approximately a week and a half after his death, our family was confronted by the administration of the Juba Monitor regarding operations and ownership of the newspaper.  As difficult as it was at the time, as we grieved for our father, we sat in multiple meetings trying to reach a resolution with the administration, the board of directors, and eventually, shareholders, “stated the family of the late Taban.

According to sources with full details of the inception of the company, the newspaper began in Sudan as ‘‘Khartoum Monitor’’ and later rebranded to ‘‘Juba Monitor’’. The sources confirmed that the current administration of Juba Monitor was appointed by the late Taban and that no one has the right to take over the company.

“Everyone who knows about Juba Monitor knows that Alfred Taban Logune is the founder, and this problem began in 2019, I used to attend some of the meetings and was clear that the newspaper is his property,”

“It is just that the administration of the newspaper, shareholders, and the family of Logune could not reach consensus over the matter, which is why it has gone up to the court,” the source who preferred anonymity said.

The family further pointed out that following several unsuccessful meetings trying to resolve the issue, they felt their father’s legacy was at risk, and that it was not an option to allow a hostile takeover of the company.

 “Which we realised was the case at that moment. We consulted our family Lawyer Becu Pitia, regarding the situation, and immediately legal procedures and steps were taken. They said, “The Alfred Taban legacy means everything to our family, which is why we will continue to fight this battle even in the most vulnerable state of our existence. Alfred Taban’s essence has been in his life’s work, which has always been for the people. We are living witnesses.”

They added: “This battle is especially about maintaining our father’s legacy and for Juba Monitor to continue serving the purpose of Alfred Taban’s vision as a voice of the people. It is unfortunate that we have reached these circumstances, but what it takes to ensure justice, we will continue to fight until God gives upon us.”

The late Taban is survived by his wife, Alice Kiden, and five children, including three females and two males, who said they have been isolated from the late legacy since his death.