We vouch for a fearless South Sudanese journalist who speaks truth to power

MNAK October 22, 2012 (The New Sudan Vision) -- Mading Ngor, NewSudanVision.com Editor in Chief and Co-founder, and Host of Wake Up Juba, has been recognized with Alumni Excellence Award by Royal Roads University in Canada for his hard hitting, fearless reporting and journalism work in South Sudan. Ngor, a fierce advocate for press freedom, democracy, accountability and transparency, received the award today Monday afternoon October 22 at a luncheon organized by the university to honor him and fellow Alumni Leadership Award winner Eric Jolliffe.

According to Royal Roads University, the Alumni Excellence Award “recognizes an alumnus who best personifies the Royal Roads University values of bringing meaningful and positive change to their workplace, community or the planet.”

The university describes Ngor as someone who “uses his powerful voice to speak out for transparency and democracy” through his breakfast show: Wake Juba where he interviews influential people and decision-makers asking them “tough questions others are afraid to raise in a country that lacks media laws.”

We believe Mading Ngor's amazing self-drive, fearles, selfless and tireless works for democracy and accountability using the media as a tool is legendary, and deserves the kind of recognition he is getting today from Royal Roads University. We know him as a true friend, a colleague of great character, trustworthiness, and one who speaks truth to power and gives platform to democratic voices.

As colleagues, we have watched him bring to discussion an amazing degree of wit, intellect and rigor beyond anyone’s imagination, whether through command of the issues during our editorial meetings or in the finest opinion pieces he would pen for the website that have been steep in their global reach and perspectives as well as in Pan African world views.

Working in South Sudan as a journalist does not come without a sacrifice and commitment. After graduating from Royal Roads University in 2010, Ngor left his comfort in Canada and joined fellow countrymen and women in building South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan last year. After witnessing the independence of South Sudan last year, Ngor joined Bakhita Radio, an affiliate of Catholic Church in South Sudan. At Bakhita, he established Wake Up Juba a daily morning show where he interviews leaders in the government, opposition politicians, foreign diplomats and activists from South Sudan’s civil society organizations. He has since been subjected to numerous threats from authorities who think his popular morning radio show gives a platform to people who criticize the government.

About two weeks ago, the government summoned the management of the radio over concerns about Wake Up Juba! In February, he was thrown out of South Sudan National Legislative Assembly by parliamentary security, accusing him of accessing an area not designated for public, something which attracted widespread condemnation both in South Sudan and internationally. The security took advantage of lack of laws which can regulate how media and journalists should be treated.

Ngor’s work as a journalist dated back to pre-college years. Because of his belief in free press as a tool for promoting democracy, accountability and good governance, we joined forces with him in 2006 to help create the NewSudanVision.com. He became the website’s editor-in-chief—a position he has held ever since. In his role as editor in chief, Ngor has never been deterred by lack of resources. He labored to bridge the information gap among the Diaspora and people back in South Sudan. He enlisted the best pool of talented writers and contacts of highly influential people of various political backgrounds for interviews. He set high expectations, at times causing some writers to question why their sometimes lengthy work would be cut in halves. Ngor also balanced both the journalistic fidelity with the sad fact that South Sudan remains one of the last frontiers for news media, where, although citizens are a lot more receptive to the notion of press freedom as the cornerstone of a democratic society, some are not comfortable with its truth or lack thereof.

His tremendous courage in the face of uncertainties has been phenomenal. Besides countless telephone interviews he did with top government officials during his time in Canada, one stood out for us. During the difficult and deadlock days of the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Southern delegation headed by SPLM Secretary General staged a demonstration in Khartoum, demanding sweep and quick actions. As a result, Khartoum arrested some of them including Pagan Amum, the SPLM Secretary General. Against many odds, Ngor arranged to call and succeeded in interviewing Mr. Amum from the jail. After the security realized Amum was being interviewed by the media, they snatched away his cell phone; some commotions could be heard at the background as Amum resisted the jail security agents. The interview helped expose the brutality of the Khartoum regime to the outside world.

Ngor came to Canada in 2001. Throughout his time in Canada, he helped crusade for the cause of South Sudan through media and public speaking. He got interviewed by leading Canadian media outlets such as Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist, Edmonton Journal, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

While studying at New Westminster High School in Vancouver, Ngor won a scholarship to study at Pearson College. The scholarship allowed him to study with 200 students from 88 countries. Named in memory of Lester B. Pearson, Former Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Laureate, Pearson College teaches students to view themselves as global citizens first and then ambassadors for their countries second. At Pearson, Ngor discovered the New African Magazine through which he learned a lot about African History, leading to his development of Pan African consciousness and ideals.

After finishing at Pearson College, Ngor joined Grant Macewan College, now Grant Macewan University, where he studied journalism. After Grant Macewan, he went on to study at Royal Roads University where he obtained his Bachelors of Arts in Professional Communication in 2010. While in Canada, Ngor worked and wrote for Metro Edmonton, Unlimited Magazine and Calgary Herald.

He went back in 2011 before South Sudan independence to take part in history and to help push the cause for freedom through his work at Bakhita Radio and the NewSudanVision.com.In any case, Ngor believes that the young nation would be better served by not repeating or importing the repressive attitudes of the old regimes in Sudan which have stifled free expression.

“I want freedom of speech in my country. I want prosperity for my country,” He said. “That is why I wake up in the morning, and shout: wake up juba - wake up to the injustices around you and wake up from sleep because we have to build this nation - freedom needs work. I am hopeful that a nation that sacrificed millions of lives for its independence will let freedom ring.”

We at The New Sudan Vision feel a debt of gratitude toward the Royal Roads University for recognizing Ngor’s tireless and selfless effort for democracy, good governance and transparency using free media. The award is an inspiration to millions of South Sudanese who yearn and struggle every day for freedom of expression, democracy, good governance and transparency. We will always look back to this moment with a great sense of pride as the moment the world got to recognize not only one of our own, but also South Sudan in its push to attain these very universal rights.

Joseph Deng Garang and Nhial Tiitmamer are co-founders of The New Sudan Vision. You can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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