Press the guardian of truth –Norwegian envoy

By Gladys Kole

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Sudan said free press is not the enemy of the people but rather the guardian of truth as South Sudan joins the world to mark 3rd May, the world press Freedom Day.

In the statement seen by this outlet, Deputy Head of mission Lars Peter Henie of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Juba stated that the work of free and independent media all over the world matters now more than ever.

“On this world press Freedom Day Norway honors the courage and sacrifice of journalists around the world” he said.

South Sudan is ranked as number 118 out of 180 countries as complied by reporters without borders yesterday on the world press Freedom Day index. Freedom of the press still remains precarious in the country.

“The country should change from this precarious state because Journalists should not leave in fear for threat and intimidation as they’re doing their job, there should be no censorship” Peter said in the statement.

The diplomat noted that they (journalists) also importantly explained that the first ever elections in South Sudan are scheduled for December 2024 and for democracy to be real, there needs to be civic space. And for civic space to be real, there must be freedom of press.

“Journalist inform the public and uncover truths Sometimes they hold powerful to account, this is critical”

Norway further reiterated that journalists help give people a more accurate understanding of current events and sometimes they help uncover abuse of power, corruption plus mismanagement.

Last October, Norway signed an agreement to support UNESCO with NOK 200 million (approx.20 million us dollars) to promote peace and human rights in the world through freedom of expression and safety of journalists, heritage, and artistic freedom.

Protecting journalists and cultural practitioners and their work is extremely important at a time when freedom of expression and cultural rights are under pressure in many countries.

Norway provides support to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through a number of programme cooperation agreements. The new agreement concerns voluntary Norwegian contributions to several UNESCO programmes and funds in the field of Culture and Communication and Information for the period 2022–2025.

Norway has actively advocated closer coordination of UNESCO’s efforts to promote freedom of the press and artistic freedom.

Journalists and artists are often subjected to the same kinds of threats and attacks. Developments in digital technology have led to an increase in digital violence and censorship, as well as to other challenges such as inadequate compensation for artistic works and editorial content.

South Sudan is a young country with great hopes of peace, prosperity and democracy.

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