GLOBAL JOURNALIST: Africa's newest nation - South Sudan

Friday, March 18, 2011 | 12:10 p.m. CDT

With unanimous support, those in South Sudan voted to secede from the north and form the world's newest nation. In a region still shaken and scarred by a bloody past, talks of peace might be premature as the newborn country emerges from Africa's womb.

Sudan's civil war, the longest in African history, has claimed 2 million lives and has displaced millions more. A new dividing line might never erase the past for those who have endured the horrors, making for an increasingly tense social struggle. The war has also scarred the landscape, decimating infrastructure and encouraging corruption. Much of the oil that lies in Sudan's south flows northward via pipelines, making the balance of peace an even more precarious one.

Press freedoms are also an emerging issue. Stifled in the north and still in question in the south, journalists in Sudan are demanding laws that protect their profession and enable them to report the developments of an budding nation.

Starting from scratch, South Sudanese will face an arduous journey as they seek to establish their identity in Africa and become one of the nations of the world.

Listen to this week's show.

Highlights from this week's guests:

Juba, Southern Sudan: Peter Martell; South Sudan correspondent; Agence France-Presse and the BBC:

"Has the reality set in? Well, I think people are extremely enthusiastic, but they are beginning to realize that there are enormous challenges ahead for the nation to be. … There's real pressure, and it's an absolute necessity that north and south Sudan work together. … It's very difficult for journalists to write freely in northern Sudan. In the South, there are still restrictions. We are still waiting for press law to be passed to guarantee journalists right to publish information in the news. … I think the press will be absolutely critical in building South Sudan."

In studio: Dr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, emeritus professor of history at MU, Sudanese presidential candidate during the 2010 election:

"The press, on the other hand, because of all of the cultural problems it has in updating and looking at things, tends to agitate. … The press, for lack of clarity, for lack of ability to do editorial work, to do research work, they tend to compensate for that and agitate the situation. That is where the government starts to get them and impose all of these restrictions."

Juba, Southern Sudan: Philip Jada, Head of Mission, Government of Southern Sudan Liaison

"As I speak to you now, as South Sudan is not yet independent, we already represented in about 15 countries. … I know there will be a lot of difficulties. … We realize it is going to be momentous work."

Farmington Hills, Michigan: Ghada Khalid, US correspondent, Blue Nile Television

"So far from what we have seen, although the south has voted for referendum, there is still tension between the northern and the southern governments. The past few days, the south Sudanese government released some documents that prove the northern government was funding groups to de-civilize the south. There's still a lot of tension between the two, and they are still not able to work together. … I try to be optimistic, but there are still issues between the two entities that they may have trouble resolving."

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