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A Free and Fair Media Starts With Us, Says One Young Leader in South Sudan
April 14, 2020

Photo of Margaret Lole

Born in Juba, South Sudan, Margaret Lole grew up surrounded by friends and family.

“My classmates used to call me ‘master of ceremonies’ and wouldn’t start playing until I arrived,” Margaret says. “I was always the one initiating games, especially my favorite: bike racing.”

Margaret, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and a project officer at Eye Media, works today promoting peace and reconciliation in South Sudan, bringing to light humanitarian issues in the state.

“In South Sudan the media plays a pivotal role in enhancing the peace processes and in promoting harmony in the conflict-torn country. It’s disseminated important information about the peace agreements and provided a platform for discussion,” Margaret says.

Equipped with accurate information about the state’s peace process, Margaret explains, she and her peers were better able to not only follow national developments but also to raise important questions and voice their concerns in an open forum.

It’s up to young adults, Margaret explains, to stand with reliable media sources and to act as role models among their peers.

“We also need trusted media to provide valuable historical context about how communities in the past used to co-exist peacefully and how that can still be emulated today,” Margaret says.

It’s the transformative power of stories that enlivens Margaret’s work, both as a journalist and as a media consumer.

“I want to be remembered as a person who changed people’s lives not for fame or for money, but because I wanted to lift others up and improve their lives,” she says.

In this, Margaret returns to her initial motivations and to her passion for rigorous reporting in South Sudan.

“I would tell anyone interested in journalism that it’s not something you choose to do because others are doing it,” she says. “It all boils down to: How do you want to change people’s lives? What information will you share? Is it useful?”

For Margaret, staying focused on her community and on improving the lives of others gives her work a unique purpose and buoys her in times of trouble.

“You have to keep fighting for a good cause,” Margaret says. “You can’t give up.”

Interested in Margaret’s work? Learn how you can stop, reflect, and verify on our YALIChecks page.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.