Support local media cover Pope’s tour of Juba, Media Authority told

Support local media cover Pope’s tour of Juba, Media Authority told
Pope Francis when he hosted President Salva Kiir at the Vatican in 2019. [Courtesy]

Media Authority have been challenged to ensure that representatives from the local press are granted the necessary support in covering the forthcoming visit by Pope Francis’ to South Sudan.

Pope Francis ,who is the head of the catholic church, will be in Juba between July 5-7, 2022, an event that is expected to attract international coverage from the media.

South Sudan’s Commissioner of Information Commission, Moyiga Nduru, says that necessary arrangements should be made to ensure that locals have a first-hand experience and timely update on the Pope’s activities in the country.

“We will have very important visitors in the country. I want you (Media Authority) to do your job and ensure that local journalists cover the visit by the Pope and other Anglican praetorian leaders,” he added.

The Pepe will be accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Mr Nduru said South Sudanese journalists should be treated with the same respect as international members of the press who are expected to cover the Pontiff’s maiden tour to Juba.

“I would like to use this opportunity to call on our officials, particularly the media authorities, to assist in ensuring that our journalists be in front, just like the international journalists following the pope,” he added.

He was speaking during the commemoration of the belated World Press Freedom Day last week in Juba.

He said when it comes to such occasions, government officials have preferential treatment to foreign media compared to local journalists.

“Our journalists must receive the same treatment, not like what we used to witness in most cases where our journalists are normally taken far away on such important occasions,” Nduru stressed.

Director of South Sudanese Media Authority, Elijah Alier, pledged commitment to providing a favourable environment to members of the press.

“We are committed to the development of an independent, professional, and pluralistic media that promotes the development of South Sudanese values and artistic creativity while adhering to the law’s requirements for public order, safety, and morals,” he said.

He urged government officials to stop interfering with editorial work for the media to continue delivering information to the public.

The Pope will jet into the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo where he is also expected to meet warring leaders.

Two years ago, (in 2019) Pope Francis hosted President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar at a Vatican retreat where he knelt and kissed their feet. Pope Francis had urged two leaders not to return to conflict.