Media sustainability: AMDISS asks NGOs to pay for success articles

The Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS) has called on the international and national non-governmental organizations to pay media houses for coverage of their success stories.

According to its chair, Koang Pal Chang, who spoke during a media stakeholder’s forum, the money that the NGOs will pay the media houses to write and broadcast their success or public relation stories will be used to sustain the media house.

“I would like to call upon international organizations to pay media houses for their success stories. You need to pay us to cover your success stories,” Koang said on Tuesday.

“Please, just pay us that small amount. We can write the whole story. The rest can be a bonus to you because we know you have media budget. What are you doing with that media budget? We need to be paid.”

Koang, who also manages Eye Radio, stated that media houses are struggling to sustain journalists in an economic crisis-hit country like South Sudan.

“I hire a journalist, I pay him every month; I buy for him a recorder and batteries. He goes to Aweil [for your NGO coverage], you only pay him per diem and accommodation. He comes back, we run the story. At the end of the day, I pay him,” he expressed.

“So, this is a loss. Actually, financially, we are contributing to your success story. So, you need to pay something,” koang asserted. “This must be change.”

According to the President of the union of Journalists of South Sudan, Patrick Oyet, some private media houses pay journalists as low as 15,000 South Sudanese Pounds per month while the government-run media pays lower than that.

“The state-owned media houses also face a lot of challenges because salaries used to be 8,000 SSP per month; and now with the increase of 400%, it is a little okay but still if you convert it into dollars, it is like $40-50 a month. This is very little for a journalist,” Oyet told The Radio Community.

“The union has not sat down to get an average but that’s how low it is.”

However, he does not agree with Koang’s call for NGOs to pay for public relation stories or success pieces but advises that the media should have development programs that can be sponsored by the NGOs.

“The best things for the international organization and the media houses is to focus on what they called development communication which can be sponsored rather than paying for Public relations articles or news pieces,” he stated.

“For examples you can have programs on why somebody should have a pit latrine, why wash hands when coming out of the toilets, on health and the NGO can sponsor it.”

In August 2022, the United State government released $12 million to U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) for a new initiative – The Sustainable Independent Media Activity (SIMA) being implemented IREX to continue for another three years of the U.S. government’s long-standing support for independent media in South Sudan and the disputed Abyei Area on the South Sudan-Sudan border.