The Editors Weblog 09 December 2004
Editors Voice:
The Sudan Mirror to Reconciliate Christians and Muslims

I like this kind of stories and I desperately try to find more about emerging countries' newspapers. Thanks to the Christian Science Monitor for this great report about a Sudanese initiative: "Jacob Deng Mayom is one of six reporters (three in Sudan, three in Kenya) for a pioneering newspaper distributed twice a month throughout war-ravaged southern Sudan.

Originally written in English, the Sudan Mirror celebrated its first anniversary in October 2004 by adding an Arabic edition - a small but significant step toward reconciliation in a land marked by acrimony between the Christian south, where English is generally spoken, and the Arab-speaking Muslim north. "It is a very political statement to bring out the Arabic editions," says publisher Dan Eiffe, former Roman Catholic priest and well-known aid worker who's heavily involved in reconstruction inside Sudan.

"It says we want to write an honest, independent newspaper for Sudan," whether readers speak Arabic or English, whether they side with the Islamic government or with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), a mostly Christian rebel army that has clashed with the government in Khartoum since 1983.

In distributing an Arabic newspaper in towns and villages once at the heart of the civil war, the Mirror could anger some of its hoped-for readers. Arabic, after all, is the hated language of the oppressor in the eyes of die-hard anti-Khartoum southerners...

The Sudan Mirror reporters are finding a thirst for information among their "readers," 3 out of 4 of whom are illiterate and rely on friends to read articles aloud... Government sympathizers regularly charge that the Mirror is biased in favour of the SPLM, adding fuel to the fires of division. Eiffe rebuts that angrily, saying his is a regional paper reflecting the concerns and interests of a regional readership, and as such it may be guilty of well-meaning parochialism, but not of bias."

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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