UNAMID Chief notes need for a free and responsible press in and on Darfur

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UNAMID PR / 11-2011


El Fasher, 03 May 2011 – The Joint Special Representative (JSR) for the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, today encouraged the development of a free press in the region as a means of promoting peace and reconciliation.

“By enabling the various communities to speak with one another freely, media could play a major role in promoting true peace in Darfur,” JSR Gambari said in a statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

“Media can greatly influence the direction of conflict and conflict resolution, as we are seeing around the world today, particularly in this region,” he said. “Media both inside and outside a conflict zone must take their roles seriously in order not to inflame confrontation, while doing their utmost to seek out facts and supply context to their coverage of critical events.”

The global theme for the 2011 observance of World Press Freedom Day, “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers” is applicable to the situation in Darfur, Professor Gambari noted: “Words and images travel so quickly now from so many sources that the people of Darfur have the possibility of far greater engagement in the peace process than in earlier periods. At the same time, when only a few formal media channels are available, the possibility of misinformation spreading quickly also exists. This is why UNAMID is working, as a matter of urgency, with the Government of the Sudan to establish a UNAMID Radio station to disseminate accurate messages of peace and reconciliation.”

UNAMID strongly supports and encourages more media coverage within and about Darfur: “Darfur should not fall off the media's radar screen just because major conflict has decreased in the region or because of media fatigue,” Professor Gambari said. “The people of Darfur need a free and responsible media more than ever, to provide an enabling environment for achieving sustainable peace and promote national reconciliation.”

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