26th September 2020
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Veteran Journalist Alfred Taban passes on

Author: Staff Writer | Published: Saturday, April 27, 2019

Alfred Taban reads Juba (Khartoum) Monitor, a daily he founded decades ago | Credit | Juba Monitor

Alfred Taban has passed on after a long illness, Eye Radio has learned. 

According to a relative, the veteran journalist died at a hospital in Kampala, Uganda, on Saturday.

Until his death, Taban was a member of parliament representing Kajo-Keji County and also the head of Information and Communications for the National Dialogue.

Having trained as a laboratory technician, Taban embarked on a career in broadcast journalism and later became BBC correspondent.

Alfred Taban was the founder and former editor-in-chief of Khartoum Monitor, the 1st independent English-Language Newspaper in Sudan.

He has been detained by the Sudanese authorities for 5 days in April 2001 while covering a news conference by church leaders in Khartoum, who were protesting against the cancellation of a service and the arrest of up to one hundred Christians.

On another occasion, the Sudanese police forced Taban to stand for twelve hours chanting “I am a liar, I am a liar”.

In July 2005, Speaker of the British House of Commons Michael Martin presented the Speaker Abbot award to Alfred Taban, in recognition of his work exposing the slaughter in Darfur.

This award is awarded to the journalist who has made the greatest contribution internationally to the “protection, promotion and perpetuation of parliamentary democracy”.

In 2006, Taban was one of three recipients to be presented with the National Endowment for Democracy award by US President George W. Bush.

After the country’s independent in 2011, Taban renamed Khartoum Monitor, the Juba Monitor.

Mr. Taban once served as the Chairman of the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), where he was a strong advocate for the freedom of the press in South Sudan.

In July 2016, Taban was arrested and held in National Security’s Blue House in Juba for sedition charges; that imprisonment sparked an international outcry leading to his release.

Taban was arrested following the publication of an opinion piece in which he suggested that both, President Salva Kiir and his former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar should resign for failing to bring back peace in the country.

In 2017, he resigned from both the Juba Monitor and the AMDISS after he became a member of parliament and the head of Information and Communications for the National Dialogue.

As a condition of joining the National Dialogue, Mr. Taban negotiated the release of a number of detainees including journalists held as political prisoners by the government.

“Yes, he (Kiir) appointed me to be a member of the Dialogue Committee but I told him to release journalist George Olivio, then I will accept the appointment,” Mr. Taban told reporters when asked about the posting.

Eye Radio’s station manager who had worked closely with the late, described him as a “hero and a true freedom fighter”.

“Many know that this country has lost one of the best leaders it ever had. With no doubt, you are second to our hero and father, the Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior,” said Koang Pal.

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