5th 16th Feb.2018-Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

Media is Mediator of Conflict” - Melissa Baumann and Hannes Siebert (Winter 1993), pp. 28-32

March, 2018  








This report justifies the importance of involving media in covering the revitalization of South Sudan Peace Agreement under IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF). Publically, it was admitted by   South Sudanese that the role   played by media in providing daily information on the progress or challenge made during the 2nd Phase of HLRF was remarkable and informative. Keeping the citizens/public uninformed about HLRF, offers great chance for political elites and other sections of elites to manipulate information on the HLRF progress. The   daily media reports on HLRF has contributed effectively in building public trust and confidence on the outcomes of the revitalization process including reduction of hostile and hate speech associated with peace mediation in the social media. Media is influential in maintaining and managing citizens’ expectations in relation to conflict mediation.       



Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) express its gratitude and appreciates IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, IGAD secretariat and ARCSS revitalization taskforce and funders for facilitating some South Sudanese owned media houses and Journalists to cover and report live to the public on daily bases the progress made and challenges faced during the second phase of revitalizing forum in Addis Ababa. 

CEPO, in a special way would like to thank UNESCO, The UN Peace building fund, UNDP, the Government of Japan and Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission-JMEC leadership for positively responding to our call made before them to allow national media/journalists to report on HLRF directly from Addis Ababa to public.  

Same appreciation is extended to the Editors in chief of various media houses who were effectively engaged in streaming live from Addis Ababa and those who contributed with some write ups on their experiences in covering HLRF. We are also indebted with the staff who devoted their time to compile this report.










CEPO and the Association of Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) with support from UNESCO and the UN Peace building fund, UNDP, JMEC and the Government of Japan conducted training for 50 journalists on February 1st – 2nd 2018  under the theme “the role of media in peacebuilding” served as a timely platform to update the media on the High Level Revitalization Forum on the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan as it increased journalists’ knowledge on Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in order to ensure that the public is well informed through media on the progress and violations of the agreement to deter the warring parties from committing further violations.



The role of South Sudan media outlets in covering the peace mediation process is crucial in bridging the information gap between the citizens and the negotiators. Live streaming of the Peace negotiation directly from Addis Ababa to inform and update the citizens was not a common practice in South Sudan peace mediation process since 2013. The peace mediation that resulted in to the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan in August 2015 was not adequately covered by the national media outlets in South Sudan.  It was only one media outlet  Eye Radio with support from USAID managed to cover and stream live to the people in country. In 2013 to 2015, Eye Radio coverage of peace mediation in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa prompted CEPO to carry advocacy and lobby for inclusion of other media outlets to cover the second phase of the revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan in February 2018. Evidence from local community peace dialogues has shown that effective coverage from the national media outlets has made citizens to have full trust and confidence on the outcomes of the community peace dialogue. Following CEPO experiences in disseminating the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the opposition from December 2018 to January 2018 has shown   that, once the citizens are not well informed about the peace mediation, their trust and confidence on the outcomes is very low and this made enemies of peace to take advantage of providing wrong interpretations on the outcomes of the peace mediation.

During the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, the talks about the peace accord is foreign imposed deal has taken majority of public trust and confidence and has negatively impacted on the public to have low trust and confidence on the peace deal. This development has made the citizens not to hold the parties to the peace accord accountable. Through careful tracking, it was realized that limited involvement of media in covering peace mediation has huge negative implications on   public trust and confidence on the peace deal, citizens need to be empowered to hold the parties to be accountable and responsibility for availing the will to implement, this can best be done through media reporting.

The media coverage of the 2nd phase of HLRF has effectively contributed in reducing Fake News around the developments on the outcomes of HLRF. The media coverage fixed the conflicting parties to change language when offering briefings to the public specifically on matters of being mendacious to the public. Moreover, the media coverage has helped in generating pressure on parties and their allies to demonstrate openness on the process and coming out openly on what their key considerations on the HLRF.

Finally, media plays influential role in spacing the narrative on the HLRF and expected progress for making peace happens in South Sudan. Therefore, supporting media in covering HLRF process should be treated as something essential and be made functional.



The role played by South Sudan national media outlets in covering the second phase of IGAD-led High Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on South Sudan Peace Agreement in August 2015 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa was remarkable and influential. Majority of the citizens admitted that they were well informed about the 2nd phase of HLRF in comparison with the previous peace mediation processes because of the wide range of media coverage of the HLRF. The 2nd phase of HLRF was covered by FM radio stations namely UN Radio Miriya, South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (Radio and TV) and Bakhita Radio, EYE Radio and three daily newspapers; Juba Monitor, Radio Tamajzu online and Al-Magif Arabic newspaper. These media outlets have contributed effectively in keeping the public informed about the developments on HLRF.  

The public opinion that was assessed only within Juba City was that they were closely following the HLRF processes through the media updates. The public admitted that the media coverage has increased their trust and confidence on the process of the HLRF. The public expressed opinion that the 2nd HLRF media coverage has dropped them from being influenced by Fake News like previously during ARCSS mediation from 2014-2015.





Undoubtedly, media plays a key role in conflict and peace situations all over the world. But in many developing countries including South Sudan, independent media in particular feels a sense of alienation sometimes when it comes for news reporting on issues deemed sensitive by governments. Media as known can work both ways that is to ignite violence and to settle peace in any country. We believe media in South Sudan whether government or independent has a pivotal role to play in peace and stability as it is necessary for well-being of the people of South Sudan and all sectors including the media industry. We are cognizant of the fact that the media in South Sudan is still at its infancy.

The Radio Tamazuj team believes that information is the foundation of all human rights and democratic transformation - and that it is especially vital in times of crisis and peace. The latest push for South Sudan peace talks by the region and the international community has attracted the attention of those who want South Sudan to have peace and stability after the devastating war that has forced more than four million innocent South Sudanese to flee their homes, creating Africa's largest refugee crisis. 

Radio Tamazuj as one of the popular and trusted news outlets in the country that also understand the nature of the devastating civil war since it broke out in December 2013, we felt that it was our moral responsibility to update the people of South Sudan with reliable information on the peace negotiations between the key stakeholders during the second round of peace talks, because the people of South Sudan were eager to know what was going on in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The team of Radio Tamazuj decided to take the lead to cover the 2nd High Level Revitalization Forum from morning until late hours because there was fake and misleading news on social media. As many people know very well, there are untrusted information sources in South Sudan known for spouting propaganda and posting updates with unverified news articles on the second round of the peace talks.

RT coverage of the 2nd HLRF

  1. Our professional team of journalists and editors dedicated its time and effort during the two weeks of the second phase of the revitalization forum to report on what was going on inside and outside the conference hall in Addis Ababa despite the exclusion of all journalists from attending the talks between the warring parties.
  2. The team widened its networks at the peace talks to make sure that all the key stakeholders including civil society groups at the peace talks are given equal opportunity to express their views freely despite difficulties in bringing the government side on board sometimes.
  3. The team worked tirelessly to get most of the little details right during the peace talks by engaging all the negotiators despite lack of willingness from some of the stakeholders to brief the public on whatever happened during the peace talks.


  1. The role of the media has to be more recognized as a valuable tool for change in South Sudan.
  2. The press is often described as the “fourth power” because of its Influence on public opinion and indirect influence on informing decisions, so journalists should attend the peace negotiations next time to observe the situation and report accurately.
  3. Independent media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and corruption, so it should be given freedom.



Two Eye Radio’s journalists, Alhadi Awari and Rosemary Wilfred were in Addis Ababa and covered the revitalization forum for ten (10) days. The second phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum commenced on February 5, 2018 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. During this round of talks, the parties deliberated on how to achieve a full and inclusive implementation of the revitalized agreement, and how to restore and sustain a permanent ceasefire with revived timelines and implementation schedule. 

The stakeholders also discussed ways on how to strengthen the 2015 peace deal, in the revitalization of the peace process. 

Eye Radio spoke to representatives of the TGoNU, the oppositions, civil society, religious leaders, women and youth groups among many other stakeholders during the first week in the talk in Addis Ababa. The first week was riddled with disagreements over a number of issues, including the declaration of principles, the number of the members of the transitional parliament, and the state of emergency.  All the parties except the government signed the declaration of principles, which is considered as the basis for deliberations. 

The coverage during were being done in both morning and evening hours.  Eye Radio has been updating listeners in the dawn show (Eye Radio’s current affairs morning program) as from 7 – 8am, news bulletins every day, and late evening at 8pm every evening. Most of Eye Radio callers were so impressed by the live coverage from Addis Ababa. Many of them called Eye Radio news line at night hours appreciating the work.  Eye Radio started the live broadcast in Eye Radio’s mobile studio in Addis Ababa on the second day of the talks – Tuesday at 6am and at 7:30am. 

Difference between live coverage in Addis and Juba

  1. Journalists act as first hand witnesses to the events and able to counter rumors
  2. Accuracy in reporting
  3. Proximity with party representatives for interviews and opinions
  4. Freedom to speak to opposition groups which is impossible from South Sudan
  5. South Sudanese in the Diaspora have a chance to speak to the people back home through the reporters in Addis
  6. Opportunity to balance stories instantly
  7. No intimidation of Journalists in from Addis, contrary to reporting from Juba.

Concerns from the Journalists

  1. Delays and difficulties in obtaining visas
  2. Long hours of waiting at Bole airport for clearance by IGAD
  3. Request for all travel arrangements to be done on time to avoid inconveniences
  4. No updates from IGAD, JMEC and Special Envoys about the talks
  5. All meetings were closed door
  6. Journalists to be allowed to enter the conference room to take pictures of the proceedings

How to have a better coverage next time

  1. Journalists requested for space at the venue where broadcast can be carried out from
  2. IGAD and JMEC officials to give daily updates to Journalists about the negotiations, outcome and challenges
  3. IGAD and JMEC should assign one official each that Journalists can approach anytime for one-on-one interviews.



As the fourth arm of the government, the media in South Sudan has the noble role and moral duty to inform, educate, guide and engage the South Sudanese public, the government and the opposition parties by offering unbiased reporting, constructive criticism and critical analysis of the raging civil war and the present search for peace in South Sudan. However, in the concurrently ongoing National Dialogue Initiative and the IGAD-led High-Level Revitalization Forum of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), the media has utterly failed to play their constructive roles and moral duty to adequately inform, fully educate, and actively engage the people of South Sudan to better understand the challenges and appreciate the opportunities for peace and political stability presented by the IGAD-led HLRF. Nonetheless, the media has a chance to redeem itself and regain the trust of the people in the third phase of the IGAD-led HLRF.


CRN’s experience in covering the second phase of the Revitalization Forum for South Sudan at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the first place I will like to register my appreciation for the chance given to CRN to cover the second phase of the Revitalization of the agreement to inform South Sudanese people on the process.

Benefits are as follow:

  1. The talks was the first for CRN to attend, but was a very good exposure and high chance to give people of South Sudan the right and new information from the forum.
  2. CRN was able to talk to all sides: Nine oppositions groups represented by their spokesperson, government represented by spokesperson civil society organization, youth and women groups.
  3. CRN was able to balance its news because all sides were close.
  4. CRN was able to interview many politicians and activists individually or in a group
  5. Presence of CRN in Addis Ababa gave people hope when there were reports of some agreements




  1. Travelling process were in short period
  2. Delay at Juba Airport because communication was not done on time
  3. Delay at Addis Ababa Airport because immigration process were not complete
  4. Arrival after the opening, so our audience countrywide did not get the opening session of the Forum.
  5. Mediators were not briefing us regularly so some media houses gave out fake news about the talks.


  1. Travelling process should be done earlier to avoid delays at both airports because communication.
  2. Early processing of tickets will make us cover the opening session
  3. Mediators should regularly brief the journalists so that some media houses don not confuse people back home about the talks.



Juba Monitor newspaper being the leading English newspaper in South Sudan took the lead in covering the second phase of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa from February 5th to February 16th, 2018.

The coverage was led by Juba Monitor News Editor who was at the Forum to cover the progress of the discussions, and the Juba Monitor team in Juba helped in covering other events outside Addis Ababa associated with the peace talks.

Our dedicated reporting helped dispel misleading information circulating on the social media as our reporter on the ground provided us with daily news articles covering the discussions of each day.

Due to our coverage of the 2nd phase of the HLRF, we got huge feedback from our readership about the good work we did. The reporter on the ground also individually got appreciation from the readers for his hard work which kept the public informed.

Juba Monitor provided the platform for all the participants at the forum to give their views on the peace talks. The government officials, the opposition leaders, the civil society, women, youth and the religious leaders all got the chance to air out their views on the process. Most importantly, the presence of our journalist at the forum helped provide the platform for the opposition delegates who are hard to access to speak.

The presence of the reporter helped in getting first-hand information from the discussions as our previous coverage relied on second hand information which was hard to verify and time consuming.

Therefore, having experienced reporting from the forum, the role of the media in the peace process cannot be disputed. We therefore would want to continue with coverage of the discussions if resources allow.

In conclusion, it is important to have local journalists cover the progress of the HLRF for the South Sudanese back home. The public relies on the local media for updates from the HLRF., Main challenges that should be addressed is the issue of accreditation and reluctances by some groups to provide information or talk to the press.


It is the pleasure of the Dawn Newspaper Management to have a say on the HLRF oversight report. Although being one of the leading national newspapers in the Republic of South Sudan which has considerable constituencies of readers in the capital Juba and the States, the Dawn did cover the HLRF proceedings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to the convention of the revitalization, The Dawn Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Michael Koma and other Editors attended a meeting in America Residence in Juba in which he stressed to Mr. Mark of the US Embassy the importance of involving the local Journalists in covering the proceedings of HLRF. Most media houses in South Sudan are facing acute financial crisis; they cannot afford to pay air tickets and accommodations for their reporters in Ethiopia. Hence we had appeal to the donor countries to support the media houses in reporting on the HLRF. We believed each media house has responsibility to contribute in bringing peace to South Sudan and we in the Dawn believed strongly in the realization of peace in country. Although we had participated in the two previous rounds, we applaud our colleagues in the other media houses for having done a wonderful job of informing the public of every day activity in Addis Ababa. We had envied their work and we felt we would have added a different flavor. The reporting of our colleagues had made the public well informed of the revitalization. It has generated interest in the peace process. It has pricked the government conscious that the people of South Sudan want peace. The media reporting has exposed the government as a party against peace and this prompted the government to brief the public about government position. The pressure that the local reporters could bring to bear on the warring parties is important. We cannot rely on the international media to tell our story. South Sudan audience believes in the national media more than the international our readers had wondered why the Dawn was left out. We also wondered too. However, we had assurances that the Dawn would be included in the coming rounds of the revitalization.  Government officials trusted the Dawn; it would be an asset for the Dawn to have presence in Addis Ababa


Posted: March 14, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan . By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

March 14, 2018 (SSB) — Media is a communication channel through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media comes in many different formats, including print media (books, magazines and newspapers), radios, televisions, movies, video games, music, cell phones, billboards, direct mail, and various kinds of software, fax and the Internet. Each type of media involves users (senders and receivers), content, and also a device or object through which the content is deliver under the Media practice and Law of that particular society.

Media is a tool that shapes the living style and activities of mankind, media is educative, media is a stool pigeon and media is entertaining hence; making it the beautiful and comprehensive form of exchange and review.

During the pre-modernization era messages were either pass through words of mouth with messengers covering distances of miles on foot taking them number of days before they could have reached the intended receiver(s) or messages within the same geographical locations were communicated through drums beating, Ululations, screaming and horns blowing. Today our contemporary world has gone ahead with more diversified media forms such as Websites, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, mails, fax and many more.

Last year when the issue of fuel crisis hit the switching button of a Media house that print Juba Daily Newspapers such as Juba Monitor, The Dawn Newspaper, This Day, Almaugif and Alwatan that week went so blank; it was like a century of darkness, in media; messages of hope, entertainment and development are pass and digest by the consumers. Within the house of media what is beyond individual reach is brought to his/her doorstep for consumption. Through media writers use books, newspapers, magazines and social Media to write opinions and documentations. With the media, journalists are able to inform the public day in and out, sculptors, painters, comedians, cartoonists and musicians have a podium of passing their messages of social education and entertainments.

Media is the power that drive human soul; in media there is no news that is bad news because any news in its nature has already conform its description of being News, the roof of media house is made up of what happened and not purely on the best part of how it happened as long as it has been authenticated by the right sender and deliver to the right receiver.

Media is the power house that shelter truth and mysteries, it comforts soul and at a time scratch it depending on the size of its roofing. Above all media practitioners and beneficiaries are always on the steering wheel of the “information and justice for all” under the guiding stick of individual rights, philosophical cohesiveness, respect and understanding.

Purely media is never an enemy to individual but a switching hub through which individual opinions are shared for possible judgment, consumptions and correction hence, leading to exposure of social injustice and justice on individual or group of people.

Media is a power that houses the information world but a bitter drop of destruction when abuse and misuse by the users. Media should not be abused at an individual wish because a person cannot makes media, it is every one effort meant to cover all aspects of social, economic and political living of the society.

Awuol Gabriel Arok, a Writer and a Poet, has a Bachelor Degree in Social and Developmental Studies from the University of Juba, South Sudan, he is the author of unpublished book ‘‘The Wisdom Horn’’ and an Initiator of ‘‘Your Tribe is My Tribe’’ and ‘‘Giving Heart Foundation’’ initiatives. He can be reached via his email Address: Sources:


The importance of a free, professional and plural media in South Sudan is paramount at this critical situation, as it will relevantly add some value to the ongoing HLRF in Addis Ababa. A vibrant media gives people free flowing access to information, enables negotiation, encourages people to express their views, and prompts indirect greater political participation of the citizens.

The media houses in South Sudan play should play a major role in peace building through sensitization of the citizens with relevant information on the peace process. The media can add value by promoting inclusivity and popular ownership of not only the HLRF process and the ACoH in particular, but also the implementation of any peace related activity among different stakeholders in South Sudan. It is therefore, hopeful to promote a competent and free media to serve as a credible component in creating and building civil society, and stability, in the post conflict South Sudan.

Media is as well very relevant at this point because it is the only way where most of the South Sadness citizens can access credible information looking at the current state of affairs where Social media, a technology designed to bring people together, seems to be doing the opposite by spreading false rumors and hateful speech during the phase II of the HLRF.  For example, the media played a major role in educating the citizens on how the peace talks were going on. Radio houses like Eye radio were reporting live from Addis Ababa putting a lot of hope to the already disturbed population.

Media and journalists have been victims of the ongoing conflict, in many respects, however, the news media and journalists are also at the forefront of peace building initiatives because, when they function effectively, they are crucial for the safeguarding of peace and democracy. A reliable and diverse media that can express itself freely provides early warning of potential outbreaks of conflict. Media also helps alert and mobilize the international community on a particular about the HLRF. During this peace building process, it serves multiple purposes and is an important complement to almost every program pursued in different sectors.


6.0. IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan

  1. There is need for timely invitation of journalists to cover the next phase of HLRF   
  2. There is need to easy the process for obtaining visa to Ethiopia since they are only focusing on covering HLRF.
  3. There is need to easier accreditation process for journalists’ access to the venue of HLRF.
  4. There is need to ensure that Journalist have conducive environment around the HLRF venue for reporting back the progress made in the forum.
  5. There is need for IGAD to provide timely information on HLRF process for public consumption at home.
    1. JMEC and Donors
  1. There is need to facilitate the journalists access to cover HLRF timely and effectively.
  2. There is need to support the journalists in accessing the venue of HLRF timely for effective and balance coverage of story. 
    1. South Sudanese delegates for HLRF (Parties, faith based, Youth, eminent personalities, Women and Civil society)
  1. There is need to cooperate with the journalists for provision of accurate information on the HLRF deliberations without complicating information.
  2. There is need to encourage the citizens with concrete information on concrete progress made.
  3. There is need to avoid politicizing information for public interest.
    1. Media
  1. There is need to assigned professional and experienced journalists in peace mediation reporting/coverage
  2. There is need to report on search for peace beyond HLRF events outcomes by conducting interviews with various delegates of the warring parties, Mediator-IGAD and stakeholders
  3. There is need to dedicate time in radio and column in newspaper for HLRF period.




Media plays important and remarkable role in human society in terms of growth and development. In terms of the role of media in conflict resolution, conflict transformation and conflict management is usually described by experts as “Mediator of Conflict”. Quoting Melissa Baumann and Hannes Siebert on their publication with title "The Media as Mediator," NIDR Forum, (Winter 1993), pp. 28-32. “The media unavoidably, necessarily mediates conflicts” and “The authors suggest that by drawing on the experience of mediators, journalists could better learn "how to win trust, build credibility, and challenge secrecy and authority at the same time."[p. 32]. With the above quotes, it is high time to draw conclusion that media is essential actors that play effective role in peace mediation.    South Sudanese journalists deserve to be allowed to cover the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on the peace freely without any   restrictions and frustrations. It is proven that supporting media in covering the 2nd Phase of the HLRF has helped in winning public trust and confidence on the outcomes of 2nd phase HLRF. The media coverage of 2nd HLRF has created remarkable impact on peace mediation which include; Public ownership of 2nd phase of HLRF secured; Fake News around   were reduced; Pressures created on the parties to be open and sincere on HLRF and offline media coverage has reduced the scale of hate speech on both online and offline media.

The language of the outcome of 2nd phase is imposed on us by the warring parties is turned irrelevant by the media coverage because the citizens/public were kept informed on every single action/decision reached during the 2nd phase of HLRF.  Therefore, timely facilitation of national media outlets for coverage of the HLRF next phase should be taken seriously by all stakeholders being it IGAD, Donors and civil society. South Sudanese have fashion of listening to information that comes from national media outlets and take it as public interest debate topic because foreign media information is always feared by the public due to the reason that government sometimes treat foreign media as enemies of the state. Finally, get media participate in   covering the HLRF as symbol of inclusivity and participatory approach for realization peace in South Sudan.