Celebrated South Sudan journalist and Member of Parliament for Kajo Keji County, Alfred Taban has died at the age of 62 at a hospital in Kampala.
The founder and former Editor in Chief of Khartoum/ Juba Monitor, the first independent English newspaper in authoritarian Sudan, was pronounced dead by colleagues and family members on Saturday evening.
The Juba Monitor Editor in Chief Anna Nimiriano told the local media in Juba on Saturday that Taban’s demise came after a long month management at a hospital in Kampala, where many South Sudan government officials, military and the powerful wealthy seek various services.
The death of Taban, a recipient of both British House of Commons and United States National Endowment for Democracy, shocked many South Sudanese journalists who praised his exceptional contribution in journalism in both Sudan and South Sudan.
Alfred Taban Logune was born in 1957 in South Sudan’s Kajokeji county.
He was a former BBC correspondent in Khartoum for years and later established Khartoum Monitor in 2000.
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 30 October 2006, Taban was summoned and stated that he was liable for the content of a newspaper article dated 14 September 2006, which claimed that foreign minister, state minister for foreign affairs and the director of information and public relations, Lam Akol, are mouthpieces and perpetrators of genocide as well as Islamic extremists etc.
It was argued that the article was general criticism and personal opinion of its author. In addition to the published reprimand, a penalty was imposed on his paper.
He moved the paper to Juba and named it Juba Monitor after the 2011 independence. Taban is also the former Chairman of The Association for Media Development in South Sudan AMDISS.
He died a Member of Parliament in the South Sudan transitional legislative national assembly.
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. The award is given 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.