Southern Sudan: New Radio Station to be Launched in Early 2009 and TV station to follow
A group of private investors with close links to the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) have invested in a new radio station that will have wider reach than the existing broadcasters. Based in Juba, the new Voice of the People (VoP) will, according to its proprietors, deal mainly with developmental issues. “It will be the voice of the people of Southern Sudan and will mainly focus on the developmental challenges facing the Southern Sudanese people and ways of overcoming this. As a result, we shall be hiring professionals from all walks of life from Africa, but mainly from Southern Sudan,” says 31 year old, Benjamin Bol Yei, a shareholder of the soon to be launched station.
According to Bol, VoP will also try to bring back the numerous Southern Sudanese professionals from the diaspora around the world. “This radio station will be relaying its content on the Internet and anyone in the world can tune in, therefore a big amount of content will be dedicated to urging Southern Sudanese professionals, such as doctors to come home and help rebuild the country,” he says. Attracting professionals is crucial, he argues, citing the Juba hospital as an example: Even though the government has tried to equip the hospital with some of the best equipments, and set up a private wing that is good by international standards, there is dire shortage of doctors and other medical professionals. “We have a serious shortage of medical personnel and so the equipment is more than not lying idle, I hope that Voice of the People, will be able to convince Sudanese in the diaspora to come back and work here,” he says.
Cyprien Hiniolwa, an engineer who works for the United Nations and who is in charge of setting up VoP, says that the new radio station will be able to relay its content to a radius of 360 kilometers in Southern Sudan. “There is no other indigenous radio station that currently has this reach. All the radio stations currently on air serve small radiuses of about five kilometers and that is mainly in the towns of Rumbek and Juba,” he says, adding that having its content available on line will enable VoP to reach an even larger audience.
VoP also plans to set up a TV station. Currently, the only Southern Sudanese TV Station, Southern Sudan TV (SSTV), is wholly owned by the government and is yet to become fully operational. Although already on air, it is currently just replaying advertisements telling what it will offer.