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Press statement

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Southern Sudan: Mind Your Language!

The Media Review Network (MRN) notes with incredulity and astonishment that some media reports about the referendum currently being held in Southern Sudan insist on referring to the constituency as Muslim north and Christian South.

The demographics of the Country show the following population breakdown:


70% Muslim

25% Indigenous (Animists, Tribal Religions of which there are many)

5% Christian


55% Indigenous groups

30% Muslim

15% Christian

The clash is not based on ethnic, religious or tribal considerations. It is too simplistic for the media to reduce the coverage to one of “Muslim Arab North” versus a “Christian African South”. For the media to make constant reference to religion is being deceptive and misleading.

The entire secession exercise has been encouraged by the west using “religion” as its tool. The MRN urges the media to refrain from using such rhetoric which is unrepresentative of the reality on the ground. The first responsibility of reporters and journalists is to the readers.

Thank you

Ibrahim Vawda

Senior Researcher,

Media Review Network

Tell: 012 374 6987