JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN —
Voice of America radio broadcasts, including South Sudan in Focus, are now available to listeners in Juba 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the new 93.5 FM frequency following the launch of a new transmitter.
The transmitter serves an estimated 400,000 residents in Juba and the surrounding areas, providing them with round-the-clock news, talk shows, music and sports.
Listeners welcomed the launch of 93.5 FM, thanking Voice of America “for putting us on the map” but asking that round-the-clock radio programming be extended to other parts of Sudan.
The launch of 24/7 service was attended by scores of Voice of America listeners and dignitaries – some of whom are regular listeners to programs like South Sudan in Focus -- including U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, South Sudan's Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Madut Biar Yel, and Veteran South Sudanese journalist Alfred Taban
, who represented the Association of Media Development in South Sudan.
Sonya Laurence Green, head of Voice of America's English to Africa programs, flew in from Washington for the launch at the Nyakuron Cultural Center, which was hosted by South Sudan in Focus managing editor, John Tanza, who also made the trip from the United States to South Sudan for the event.
In a speech at the launch, Ambassador Page underscored the importance of freedom of the press in a new democracy like South Sudan.
“In democratic societies, a free press allows for freedom of communication and expression without interference from the state or other players,” Page said.
“I urge you here in South Sudan, the world’s newest democracy, to promote and respect these fundamental freedoms that you have agreed to fulfil (in the constitution). This way you can move forward and make sure that your society is transparent and democratic.”
The new transmitter in Juba joins a network of VOA transmitters operated by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors in Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; Abidjan, Côte d’Iviore; Bangui, Central African Republic; and the newly launched 102 FM in Bamako, Mali.