Themba Maseko - Vodacom Journalist of the year Awards

28 October 2006

28 October 2006

Master of Ceremonies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Evening,

I bring you very warm greetings from the whole of Government of the Republic.

It is my honour and pleasure to be with you this evening to witness the awarding of awards to the men and women, who have stood above the rest, in telling stories about our nation and this young and dynamic democracy.

Journalists and the media in general, constitute one of the key pillars of any democracy. Free press is one of the shining examples that ours is a true democracy. We must all take pride in the fact that a free press is one of the noble principles that are enshrined in our Bill of Rights in the Constitution. This means that press freedom is guaranteed in our land. Our journalists can sleep peacefully at night with the full knowledge that they can, to use Steve Biko's expression, 'I write what I like.'

We must all be proud of the fact that we have men and women who have answered the calling to become journalists, so that they can tell stories about our common heritage, our cultures, our politics, our vibrant nation, our successes, our failures, and our challenges. The list goes on.

Master of ceremonies,

Journalism is not just a job. It is a calling. These men and women of the media, join the profession for the love of writing stories, keeping the nation informed, influencing and shaping public opinion about what is going on in our country and the world. Gramsci coined the concept of "integral journalism" which he defined as '..one which is able to create and develop its readers.'

In telling your stories, I trust that you are driven by the desire, not just to tell stories that increase circulation or viewership as the case may be, but to inform and educate your readers about your stories as well. Once your stories are published, they cease to be your stories. They become stories through which the nation sees itself. They become not just stories about us, but they define who we are. They become the mirror through which we see ourselves. In the eyes of a foreign reader, these stories define us, all of us, as 'these people.' In other words, they become, not just our stories, but they become us.

I take this opportunity to congratulate all our journalists for keeping our nation informed and educated. Tonight's function is about recognising and honouring those among us who have excelled in their work. However, in my world, all journalists in our land deserve praise for doing what could sometimes be referred to as a thankless job.

I conclude by calling on the editors and media owners to increase investment in training and development of the current and future generation of journalists. We worry sometimes that this area is not receiving sufficient attention and leads to accusations that the industry is not doing enough to reproduce quality men and women in our newsrooms.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Vodacom for their vision in organising this event and, for inviting us to witness these awards on behalf of government.

Congratulations to all the winners.

I thank you all.

Themba Maseko
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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