Upper Nile State Ministry of Information and Communication has established a committee on press coverage of the upcoming election that will seek to ensure all political parties and independent candidates enjoy equal access to news media.
The ministry's director general Bartholomew Pakwan Abwol disclosed the formation of the panel, whose membership will include representatives of the Upper Nile High (election) Committee, political parties and local news media, during a meeting with UNMIS Public Information Office staff on 5 March.
"We need the media to help us in creating a peaceful environment for the elections," said Upper Nile State Minister of Information and Communication Brig. Gen. Thon Mum Kijok.
The creation of the committee followed a series of meetings held in Khartoum and Juba in February that brought together ministers of information at the state level.
A total of 393 candidates representing 18 political parties in Upper Nile State are running for various elected offices at the state, regional and national level.
Four radio stations and one television station operate in the state. The newly formed panel will address how much broadcast airtime should be allocated to each political party and candidate.
"We don't want media to create an insecure atmosphere, take sides or discriminate against any political parties or independent candidates," said Mr. Abwol.
The State Ministry of Information and Communication will depend on Upper Nile State High Committee for timely advisories about campaigns and activities of all political parties and independent candidates, which will then be relayed to local news media.
Mr. Abwol also invited all interested foreign journalists who visit Upper Nile State during the election campaign to contact upon arrival the information and communication ministry upon arrival, which would put them in touch with the state high committee for elections.