Radio & mobile open up South Sudan

Source: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 02:50 AM
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South Sudan remains threatened by conflict, displacement and severe food shortages.But the rapid spread of FM radio stations and the roll-out of a nationwide mobile telephone network has made it easier for aid agencies to reach those who urgently need help in Africa's newest country. infoasaid's South Sudan Media and Telecoms Landscape Guide maps the rapid development of local radio and mobile telecoms since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 paved the way for independence six years later. The media dark areas of this vast country, devastated by half a century of civil war, are dwindling fast. FM radio stations are popping up in the most remote settlements. Local radio is popular Today there are more than 30 FM radio stations on air across the country, delivering local news and information to people in their own languages. Radio Miraya, the UN radio station broadcasting in English and pidgin Arabic, has the widest national coverage. But wherever possible people tune in to a local station which tells them about the world they know in their own language. The mobile phone network which barely existed five years ago now embraces more than one million subscribers. By 2013, all of South Sudan's 86 counties will enjoy at least some degree of mobile coverage. Together local radio and mobile telecoms enable aid agencies to reach most disaster-affected communities in an instant and listen to the voices speaking back to them. This humanitarian dialogue is essential to ensure that the right kind of aid gets to the people who most need it in a timely manner. Humanitarian crisis persists Despite six years of peace and economic development since the landmark 2005 peace agreement, South Sudan is slipping back into conflict with its former rulers in Khartoum. The two sides have fallen out over unresolved border issues and the division of earnings from Southern oil. Tribal warfare within South Sudan has brought further suffering and the United Nations has warned that poor rains will bring crop failure to many areas. It estimates that half the 10 million population of South Sudan will suffer food shortages in 2012. Most roads are closed in the rainy season, making it difficult to deliver food, shelter and medical care to remote communities in a timely fashion. But those who need help and those who can provide it are finding it easier than ever to talk to each other. Download infoasaid South Sudan Media and Telecommunications Landscape Guide (.pdf)

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