More to be done in media transformation

Pretoria: Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, says South Africa has made significant progress in terms of media transformation, however there is still much to be done.

Addressing the 7th edition of the African Media Leaders Forum 2015, on Thursday, in Johannesburg, the Minister said print media ownership patterns remain largely untransformed and alternative voices - more especially of the poor and most disadvantaged - still remain largely unheard in the media environment.

"We champion community media to help fill this gap at grassroots level," said Minister Radebe.

He said the development imperative that is on the agenda of the meeting is one of those obligations that media owners and practitioners should always take into consideration when exercising their craft.

"Since 1994, as the democratic government, we have seen media as a partner and a powerful independent agent for social change. It is the inherent role of the media to inform, educate and entertain everyone, not just the selected minority," said the Minister.

He said this helps to empower people to form their own views and opinions, and become active citizens who are able to use the information to engage meaningfully on matters of development that affect them on a daily basis.

"Most importantly, the media helps build active citizenry that is able to hold powerful actors in society to account, including the private and public sector leadership and organisations," said Minister Radebe.

He said the National Development Plan (NDP) invites all to build a capable and developmental state that is underpinned by active citizenry. "… and I strongly believe that media can play a pivotal role in terms of achieving this development agenda."

South Africa does not exist in a vacuum, and it is part and parcel of the African continent. Hence, the country have committed to contribute towards the creation of a better South Africa, a better and safer Africa in a better world.

"From a media perspective, the South African government supports or is signatory to a number of international instruments, protocols and charters," said the Minister.

These instruments create an enabling environment for all to build a strong media that contributes to social, cultural, political and economic development and emancipation.

He encouraged the media to produce information and develop measures that will make all the people of Africa to face socio-economic risks and environmental hazards with greater preparedness and resilience.

"The new Information Communication Technology (ICT) revolution in Africa brings about new opportunities for media to reach the previously marginalised groups and present innovative solutions, in terms of empowering citizens of the African continent to determine their own development and livelihoods.

"We echo the voices of our current African leaders when they call us into action through Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want - with a vision of an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena," he said.