South Sudan Crisis: How Misreporting Could Ignite it Further – The Guardian Reporting of 23rd Dec. 2013 is Ugly

By Agook Mayek Riak and Mabior Wende Makuek

December 29, 2013 (SSNA) — Since South Sudan crisis erupted from 15th December 2013, many journalists have ticketed available means of transport to catch up with events on ground in Juba and elsewhere. Some news outlets are as well reporting from far as France, United Kingdom, Europe and America.

On the token, can there be creditable and factual news of the real situation on ground given the distance barrier?

Many journalists from various media houses have been misreporting on the setting, which leads to misinformation, thus exacerbates the situation further. One of these media outlets worsening it, is The “Guardian” news outlet from UK, whose reporting of 23rd December 2013 by their Journalist Daniel Howden is biased and carries one sided story, a typical example of bad journalism. All that Daniel Howden has gathered and put out for publishing by the Guardian is biased, exaggerated and over-toned to larger extend.

With that, one needs to question The Guardian creditability in dealing with sensitive issues as this crisis of South Sudan. The Guardian Journalist Mr. Daniel Howden did not follow ethics, protocol and seven criteria of Journalism, which calls for taking two sides of story. Mr. Howden has only reported of the stories from the feign victim – the Naath (Nuer), which was also a misreporting from the first news of the night to dawn events of 15th – 16th December 2013.

We think and believe of connotation, hyperbolic statements of the situation in the following by Daniel Howden as he quoted from those he interviewed.

Simon K, a 20-year-old student living in the capital of South Sudan, whom he reported as having been arrested by men in uniform, and who asked Simon K, incholdi – “what is your name?” in Dinka, the language of the Country’s President and his largest ethnic group.”

Analyzing this quote alone, will surely indicate that whatever that erupted and happened in Juba, was a tribal fight between President tribesmen and the alleged victims, who according to Daniel Howden are Naath (Nuer), an ethnic group where Simon K, and the other victims hail from.

Anyone who has had read through this article by the Guardian Journalist Daniel Howden would undeniably, sense a great deal of biasedness, exaggeration which is so detrimental to proper journalism reporting and as well soiling the Guardian news agency’s reputation.

Media, (Western media) has apparently become one of the deadly tools that is tearing apart many nations, especially African and Middle Eastern countries, where understanding of news content and its message is not actually analyzed properly and for better action by any stakeholder or parties in rivalry, but rather taken as crude as it is out in both print, electronic, TV and in waves.

South Sudan is not an exception of the other nations that have had a similar situation and where media has harmed their cohesiveness and co-existence. For those who have not followed Rwanda genocide of 1994, Kenya 2008 elections violence, Media was one tool used disproportionately to impair the events; hence hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in clashes.

Our main concern goes beyond the scope of South Sudan’s predicament, and has become more complex and multifaceted consequent of the interference from external force. Although wrong elements from both sides of the clashes have viewed it that way, we want the common focus to be on leadership struggle between President Gen. Salva Kiir, his loyalists and the group of Dr. Riek Machar, a mixture of all tribes across ten states of South Sudan.

We request, The Guardian media Management to correct the content of these news on South Sudan situation published on 23rd December 2013, caution their journalists when reporting on events of this kind, but more importantly, their journalists need to take two or even third sided story, (given the fact that South Sudan has over 100 ethnic communities) to avoid biasedness, exaggeration and overtone.

Sudan Tribune electronic news based in Paris – France should also find better ways of getting their news on ground, or else stop reporting on situations that they don’t have presence. In actuality, Sudan Tribune stands number one in this misinformation that it is Jieng (Dinka) against Naath (Nuer) fighting over SPLM leadership, when in real sense, it is not, given the composition of the group that Dr. Riek is their leader challenging President Gen. Salva Kiir.

We would like to remind once more, journalists, media practitioners and anyone having accessibility to public domain, to be careful with their expression and content of what they intend to communicate on any topic pertaining the current political crisis in South Sudan.

We continue to pray that our leaders would see the plight and the desperation of the common South Sudanese by ironing out their differences soonest possible, and focus on their pre-independence promises of liberty, justice and prosperity to the people of South Sudan, regardless of their ethnic background, religion and other creeds.

Agook Mayek Riak and Mabior Wende Makuek are concerned South Sudanese in South Sudan – Rumbek, the Republic. They are reachable at: [email protected] and [email protected]

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