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South Sudan - Journalism Intern Writes of Going Home
November 6, 2007
By The IRC
|Photos: Justin Rubo|
|Justin Rubo, 26, returned to South Sudan in April 2006 from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Through the IRC Justin received an opportunity to study journalism as an intern at The Juba Post, a daily newspaper in Juba, South Sudan. Justin worked on the “Going Home” section of the paper which focuses on issues relating to Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons returning to South Sudan as peace tries to settle in following a 21-year civil war. Justin was one of 124 trainees who recently completed a vocational training program sponsored by the IRC and received certificates in a variety of skills, including computing, hairdressing, catering and journalism. Below Justin answers questions about his internship and what he thinks about the future. What is your background? I am from a village called Lanyi in Western Equatoria State, South Sudan. Of the five children, I am the only lucky one to have the opportunity to study. I am my siblings’ light and I feel for them. I am brought up in the Christian faith of the Catholic Doctrine. His Grace Paulino Lukudu Loro, the Catholic Archbishop of Juba, implanted the importance of education in me and gave me the rare opportunity to learn English. His sponsorship to my intellectual, moral and spiritual guidance is special. I am 26, still single, and live in Juba. Why did you decide to pursue journalism? My pursuit of journalism is to make real changes in Sudan. The history of Sudan is full of war. South Sudan has just closed the chapter of war with the north. If we are to study closely what is going on, our people are not well informed and have no access to information about their rights. Only a few have the means of information about the problems of their region. Journalism is therefore a crucial tool for change and this is why I pursue it. My pursuit of journalism is a real duty to do in order to move people to true democracy, justice and equality provided in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. If this is not done, then how can we explain the constant corruption in our government? There are also social problems happening. I see my pursuit of journalism as being one big reliable commitment for the people of Sudan and South Sudan especially. What did you learn at your internship? In the internship I have learned journalism skills and gained a lot of experience. The journalism skills we learned about are: news reports, news features, news briefs, interviews and the inclusion of the 5Ws. The 5Ws try to explain what is done, who does it, where is it done, to whom it is done, when it is done and how is it done, and beside that, you have to mind what will happen next. We also learned about the journalists’ ethic code of conduct, balancing a story, covering press conferences and workshops, and taking action photos. Could you describe the “Going Home” page you worked on? The “Going Home” page encourages Sudanese people abroad to come home. The coming home of the people is also to meet the demand of the nation particularly for the upcoming census, elections and participating in the coming referendum when the Southerners will decide on their fate to spilt or remain within a united Sudan with the north. How did you find out about the internship, the IRC and The Juba Post? I believe in the internship program. It has opened me up to society, friends and to the world. This is the good achievement in human life that one needs to build on continuously. What I gained from the internship is good training and new knowledge. The IRC constantly assisted me during the internship program. The IRC sponsored me in these journalism training skills which have added a new career to my life. The IRC helped me with transport and food. One of the most important things I find IRC does is to improve and rebuild the capacity of those affected badly by Sudan’s long civil war. IRC goes down to the affected community of chiefs, local leaders and elders whose people need change in all aspects of life. The Juba Post’s acceptance of our training is positive as they have given us the skills along with help of IRC to be self-supportive. Now that we have finished with our internship, the problem is finding work. Do you think peace will remain in South Sudan and what is the mood of returning refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)? I have my doubts on peace existing in South Sudan because the time factors provided in the CPA implementation are not respected. There are many contrary events dimming peace in South Sudan. There are misunderstandings on boundary demarcation lines. A census that was to take place in November this year was pushed back to February 2008. General elections and the referendum on independence remain untouched. Associated with this are issues of tribal clashes and people still carrying arms. From the narrow sense of peace remaining in South Sudan, the government is trying to maintain the insecurity to its capacity. On the mood of the refugees and IDPs coming home, they do not all have the same level of feelings. Some preferred to remain in the exile and others are happy to be back home for different reasons. Many services are not reaching the people. Many look for working opportunities but find no job. And many of the people with jobs receive their salaries late, sometimes two or three months late or more. How do you think being a journalist and journalism can help South Sudan recover and rebuild? I like being a journalist because it helps our people and nation and can make changes on many aspects of our society. Journalism can greatly help South Sudan recover and build at the same time. Journalism in South Sudan has not yet taken root very much. If journalism takes root, it will improve education, raise awareness of our cultures and the world will be well informed about us. It will also eradicate bad feelings, implant harmony and reduce corruption in our social, political and economic institutions. What are your future plans? We recently finished with our theoretical and practical training. I am now following some investigative stories and following news assignments for the newspaper. After getting my information from various sources I write and submit the stories to the editor at The Juba Post to be published. My major plans are to have a plot of land, build a house, have a good family and farther my education.|