Alfred Taban, Head of Information and Communications
Mr Taban serves the National Dialogue as the Head of Information and Communications, drawing on his influential career in South Sudan’s media. Mr Taban is a broadcast journalist and former BBC correspondent. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of the Juba Monitor, the leading independent newspaper in South Sudan. Mr Taban is also the former 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.
Mr Taban resigned from both the Juba Monitor and the AMDISS to focus on politics and civil service. He joined the National Dialogue in June 2017 after securing the release of 31 journalists imprisoned in Juba. He has served South Sudan as a minister of parliament since July 2017.
Having trained as a technician, Taban embarked on a career in journalism, a vocation that in Sudan is subject to constant government intimidation. He was detained by the 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”. More recently, he was imprisoned in South Sudan on sedition charges in 2016; that imprisonment sparked an international outcry leading to his release. As a condition of joining the National Dialogue, Mr Taban negotiated the release of all 31 journalists held as political prisoners by the Government of South Sudan.
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.