On UN Day last October, Norway signed an agreement to support UNESCO with NOK 200 million (approx.20 million U.S dollars) to promote peace and human rights in the world through freedom of expression and safety of journalists, heritage, and artistic freedom.
On this World Press Freedom Day, Norway honors the courage and sacrifice of journalists around the world. Journalists inform the public and uncover truths. They help give people a more accurate understanding of current events. Sometimes they expose abuse of power, corruption, mismanagement. Sometimes they hold the powerful to account. This is important.
South Sudan is a young country with great hopes of peace, prosperity and democracy.
The first ever elections in South Sudan are scheduled for December 2024. For democracy to be real, there needs to be civic space. And for civic space to be real, there must be freedom of the press.
On the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, South Sudan ranks as number 118 out of 180 countries. It should be better. Freedom of the press remains precarious in South Sudan. This should change. Journalists should not need to fear for threat and intimidation. There should be no censorship.
The free press is not the enemy of the people. It is the guardian of truth.
The work of free and independent media all over the world matters now more than ever.