Minister in The Presidency Mondli Gungubele says government is committed to building a constructive relationship with the media through forthright and robust engagement.
“We strongly believe that the media play a critical role in shaping a healthy democracy,” Gungubele said on Thursday, addressing the SADC Media Awards Dinner in Sandton, Johannesburg.
He said the media is a key player in advancing national unity and social cohesion. “Media are part of our nation’s oversight to ensure all South Africans and government are held to account,” Gungubele said.
The media play an important role in ensuring that all live up to their constitutional responsibilities.
The SADC Media Awards, Gungubele said, is a powerful tool to drive the narrative of a new Africa, one of unlimited potential and a renewed hope for a better future. “This platform has over the years provided space for critical reflection on the media environment in the SADC and the continent at large.”
He said the awards are an integral part of Africa reclaiming its own story. “The stories we tell are uniquely ours, and within them are tales of hope and change for the better,” he said.
Gungubele said the SADC Media Awards are much more than just a competition which boast an impressive annual cash prize.
“There is no better ways to foster regional integration than the sharing of good news stories that contribute towards regional integration. We have the important task of communicating in the languages that our people speak and in a manner they understand.
“We have a duty to inform the people of the region about the economic integration of Africa through the Agenda 2063,” Gungubele said.
Gungubele said the manner in which Africa portray its region becomes ever more important given the social and economic challenges it faces.
“Southern Africa has not escaped the trail of devastation left by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the recent downturn in advanced economies, tighter financial conditions and volatile commodity prices, the social and economic gains we have made as a region over the years have been undermined,” Gungubele said.
The role of the media and communication has never been more important.
“Massive changes are occurring in the media landscape and the shift to new technologies and forms of communication are providing challenges to how we communicate.
“The media landscape is more fractured than it is has ever been and threats of fake news and misinformation are the order of the day,” Gungubele said.
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Deputy Director-General, Michael Currin, told guests attending the awards that his dream is for the awards to become bigger and stronger.
“It is exciting to have young journalists as winners. The SADC Media Awards is a symbol of what we can be as a continent,” he said.
The first prize was awarded to Sandile Stevenson Ndlovu from the Sunday Times in the photographic category. In this category, two entries were received and during the adjudication meeting, the National Adjudication Committee members selected his entry as one of the best.
In an interview with SAnews, Ndlovu said that over the years he has always wanted to enter the competition.
“Early this year, I told myself that am taking part in the competition. I was excited when I was told that I had won,” said the excited Ndlovu.
Ndlovu encouraged up-and-coming journalists to enter in 2023.
“Winning this competition is the highlight of my career,” he said.
The second prize went to Zinhle Makhosazane Mugabe from SABC on the TV category, in this category, three entries were received and the Twilight story scored the highest.
The third prize went to Melinda Shaw, from the Poultry Bulletin Magazine, in the Print category. Out of eleven entries received from the print category, her entry scored the highest.
The SADC Media Awards are open to journalists from the SADC Member States. The first prize winners will receive their prizes and certificates on the margins of the 42nd SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.
The SADC Media Awards were established in 1996 to recognise best media work in disseminating information on SADC to support the process of regional co-operation and integration in the region. The first prize winner in each category receives US$2500 and the runner-up receives US$1000.
The awards are aimed at promoting regional integration and cooperation (cross-border issues), and recognizing excellence in journalism in the area of print, photo, television, radio as well as to encourage media practitioners in member states to cover issues pertaining to the region.
Source: South African Government News Agency