Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane used her keynote address at the third BRICS Media Forum to reiterate her message of holistic transformation. 

The BRICS Media Forum is being held in Cape Town ahead of the tenth BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. Day 2 of the forum got under way with a welcome by co-chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé, who briefly recapped the first day’s proceedings before welcoming the minister on stage.

Mokonyane began her address by highlighting two special centenaries. “This BRICS Media Forum takes place during the year in which we celebrate the
centenary of two freedom fighters, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela under the theme: ‘Be the legacy’, as well as Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu under the theme: ‘A Woman of fortitude’. The centenary celebrations of these two icons have a significant impact in bringing diverse South Africans together.”

Mokonyane spoke about the importance of the media as “a mechanism that could be unleashed in the effort towards nation-building and social cohesion, ensuring that we develop an enlightened citizenry as well help in putting together the building blocks of democracy”.

She noted that South Africa was the youngest democracy in the BRICS bloc, at just 24 years old. Mokonyane then pushed her message of transformation.

“It is also our firm belief that transformation goes far beyond just the nuts and bolts of media ownership and representivity. A truly transformed media can play a greater and more meaningful role in ensuring that citizens have greater access to information. If we allow information deficit to arise we risk creating a new divide between those with access to resources and those who have none.

“Suffice it to say, that a transformed media have a greater role to play in ensuring people make informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. It is our joint responsibility as government and media to contribute to the development of this country and the BRICS bloc as a whole.

“Our transformation journey is about building on what we have and making it representative and relevant to a wider spectrum of society. It’s safe to say that there has been significant progress in terms of media transformation.

“However, the ownership and control of media still largely remains in the hands of a few. This extends not only to media itself but across the entire value chain of
publishing, printing, distribution, circulation, research and advertising.

“It simply cannot be acceptable that patterns of ownership across the entire value chain still remain largely unchanged 24 years into our democracy.

“Generally speaking, I think more needs to be done by media in South Africa to truly and meaningfully engage in fostering an inclusive, Just World Order within the BRICS Media Cooperation,” Mokonyane said.

She appealed to the nations in the BRICS bloc to work together to enhance development and growth, particularly in media. “In striving to foster an inclusive, Just World Order, we should do so by enhancing cooperation in key sectors such as news coverage, content development and channel development. And should also continue to support media digitisation and capacity building among the BRICS member states and promote the timely sharing of development experience between members in media operation, programme production, technical services and creation of talent pipelines for us to deepen industrial cooperation.

“And finally, we should foster a shared vision for the development of mankind and play a constructive role in building a peaceful, safe, prosperous, open and beautiful world – an inclusive, Just World Order,” Mokonyane said. 

IOL