In Media: Al Jazeera and the media of conflict

It was the 15th December 2013 and I remember leaving dinner with my cousin to join a few of our friends. As we were leaving, we were warned that there were shootings in Juba.

Six months later and South Sudan’s current conflict is still ongoing. The peace talks have been on and off. The fighting somewhat declined because of the rainy season. People are dying every day from simple, treatable diseases.

I have been actively following South Sudan’s news, reporting on it on news sites and writing about it on social media. It has taken a lot of my free time so I haven’t really blogged as much as I used to.

Anyhow a little story explaining the featured image of this post.

In January I was in Nairobi with some of my cousins, ‘hiding’ from the situation in Juba. Me and my cousin were called into the living room by another cousin, to join him to watch Al Jazeera English. They were showing a mini-documentary on how to report South Sudan’s conflict in the media. I appreciated this wholeheartedly because during that same month me and a few friends of mine had an issue with how South Sudan’s conflict was being reported by the international media. We had small debates and call outs and then another scandal occurred and a petition was set up. This led to an AJE reporter writing an article in response.

THEN came THIS segment.

Anyhow, I was really into this. I was tweeting away about the importance of reporting media in South Sudan.

I was super, super surprised to see my face! That’s me? Really? I of course tweeted about that too and told a few of my friends about it. It was surprising!

A few hours later a friend in the UK was watching the same program, saw the screenshot of my tweet and paused to take a picture. Thankfully I didn’t have to make all of that effort to try and get it myself because I only had 3G internet on my phone at the time and I didn’t know where to find this.

Eventually I did find it when searching in April/May.

We have to defend our story. We have to defend our nation. Of course the truth is always the truth, but tell the whole truth, and not just one person’s truth or half truth and half lies. It is important that people who know the history and context report the stories or set straight the media houses, who flock to a place and want to sensationalise the terror. War truly is a moneymaker… but our stories have to be told with dignity and impartiality.