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Newest African Country S. Sudan, in Chaos, Loses Journalist to USA

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This is a personal story…the story of journalist Colin Lasu…a son of South Sudan, Africa’s newest country.

Because of the chaos since its independence in 2011 and a Civil War beginning in 2013, over 1 million refugees have fled to neighboring Uganda and Ethiopia and over 200,000 have fled to other countries.

Lasu, a journalist in his home country, came back to America and received asylum here. He proved to the U.S. government that he would probably be killed if he had to return to South Sudan so the U.S. has allowed him to stay indefinitely.

Meanwhile, this seasoned journalist has obtained his master’s degree and now is studying for his doctoral degree.

He talks with SPECTRUM about his life in his home country and the chaos that ensued after independence. He also talks about his projects to train average S. Sudanese residents to become fearless radio reporters.

At one time, Lasu created a certificate program with the University of Juba and created the Sudan Radio Service. For two years, he helped non-journalists become reporters, mouthpieces of local news from their particular region.

They were taught by Lasu to talk with just “ordinary” people to get stories and reactions and not just public or governmental officials. The radio stations became quite populist.

The radio stations were very popular and Lasu trained a great number of people. However, the stations were deemed too independent by the government and a threat. Lasu became at odds with his home country’s government and he escaped to America.

Now, Lasu is studying conflict transformation, peaceful coexistence, media coverage, good governance and empowerment of disadvantaged groups.