War journalism: how & why Juba Monitor framed UPDF in S.Sudan war

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UPDF fighter planes

The Makerere University School of Liberal and Performing Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), carried out a study on how a South Sudan based newspaper-Juba Monitor framed the presence of the UPDF in Juba in their effort to rescue and restore peace in South Sudan.

Using qualitative content analysis and interviews, the study concludes that the reporting of warfare was done by proxy, as a means to escape hostility and violence directed towards the media and also as a tactic the media house employed to stay in business.

An evaluation of the coverage shows a need for availing necessary information to the media during conflicts.

The paper holds that authority silence or lack of information makes journalists to speculate and publish stories that drive panic and chaos in the society.

In his Master’s Thesis, Kango Dominic Amos, says in every conflict situation, humans depend on the media for information and update on the conflict condition, the peace efforts in progress and the relief plans put in place.

Dominic, a media trainer and lecturer is also a communication specialist with a BSc (Hon) in Development Communication and Master Degree in Journalism from Makerere University.

He says the media tends to draw attention to the suffering of the people and highlights issues that are important to them.

The world outside the conflict zone views the conflict arena through the media lens.

Therefore, this study explores the rationale behind the UPDF intrusion as reflected in the media and discusses the challenges in reporting such an expedition in a country where there is limited press freedom.

The study further assessed the extent to which Juba Monitor in its reports followed the approach of peace journalism.

The study was guided by framing and indexing theories of the press in the analysis and conclusions drawn.

The analysis applied qualitative research methods to examine the language and tone that Juba Monitor used to frame the UPDF presence in South Sudan from the local perspective.

There was a fair coverage of peace initiatives, albeit the frames adopted by Juba Monitor were those of war as the reporting followed the approach of War Journalism.

The study recommends journalists to refrain from being warmongers through their reporting.

The reports of the intervention centred on the negativism which fanned fear among the citizens and therefore, media needs a workable relationship with the host government in order to understand what and how to report on security issues.

This relationship also means that the government should be able to contribute towards providing security training to journalists covering conflicts who will inevitably report using peace journalism.

An evaluation of the coverage shows a need for availing necessary information to the media during conflicts.

The paper holds that authority silence or lack of information makes journalists to speculate and publish stories that drive panic and chaos in the society.

Further, this research adds to the body of knowledge relating to conflict reporting specifically what other researchers have not analysed about the involvement of UPDF from the perspective of the local population.

The Juba Monitor is an independent newspaper based in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. Before South Sudan’s independence in was based in Khartoum and called The Khartoum Monitor.

Its known Editor in Chief is Alfred Taban while the Managing Editor is Michael Koma.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10570/7179

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