Participants say a visit to Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, by three members of the Broadcast Board of Governors has paid dividends.
According to a release, the BBG and representatives of what will soon be called the Republic of South Sudan “established a broad agreement on new FM licenses, affiliate access, journalism training and technical support.”
The Ministry of Information promised licenses for FM broadcasting for Voice of America and other BBG broadcasting including Arabic-language programs from the Middle East Broadcasting Networks; the BBG also will have access to government-run FM stations as radio affiliates.
BBG Governor Michael Meehan stated: “The BBG is committed to helping the world’s newest democracy stand up on its feet and make sure that through a free media all its citizens’ voices are heard.”
Governor Dana Perino said the Sudanese visit “allowed us to see first-hand all of the challenges, as well as the hope, and has encouraged us to do more to expand our coverage area and continue to improve our content. One way we can help is to work on closing the gap in education by adding more instructional programs in English.”
The board members are finishing a trip that also included Ethiopia and Nigeria. They also announced an initiative called the VOA Africa Health Network.