5 October 2015
Speech by Minister of Communications Ms Faith Muthambi at the 2015 SADC Media Awards Thank You Dinner at Freedom Park
Programme Director Mr Donald Liphoko, Acting Director-General at GCIS;
Gauteng MEC of Economic Development Mr Lebogang Maile;
Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane Councillor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa;
Fellow Partners, Sponsors and Stakeholders;
Chairperson of the National Adjudication Committee Ms Livhuwani Mutshatshi
Managers and staff from the Department of Economic Development, Gauteng Tourism Authority and City of Tshwane;
Senior Managers and Staff from the Department of Communications and GCIS;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a privilege and a great pleasure for me to address this celebration in honour of the winners of the 2015 SADC Media Awards who were recognised at the 35th Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government in Gaborone, Botswana this August.
Launched in 1996, the annual SADC Media Awards promote regional integration through information dissemination as well as promoting journalism excellence in the region. This year, the 10 country adjudication committee members evaluated a total of 30 finalist entries received from all categories in Radio; Television; Print; and Photojournalism. Just as impressive, were the growing numbers of entries from the regional schools essay competition.
At the launch of the SADC Media Awards held at Tshedimosetso House in January this year, the former chairperson of the South African Chapter of the SADC Media Awards Ms Nomonde Gxongeka, shared her experience on how rigorous the adjudication process was at the Regional Adjudication Committee with countries focusing on upholding high journalistic standards.
Tonight you have heard the report from the current Chairperson, on the Regional Adjudication Committee held in Zimbabwe from 21-27 June 2015 where South Africa scooped the Television Category and a top three finish in the SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition. Both reports are a testimony that our sister countries take the SADC Media Awards seriously and rightly so.
In the International Relations Peace and Security briefing on 15 September by President Zuma, the President reminds us all of our historic mission to promote the African Agenda and build a better Africa and a better world. This is premised on the directive in the Freedom Charter which stipulates that “There Shall be Peace and Friendship”. The economic development that will bring prosperity to the people of the SADC region will only be possible through actively pursuing social cohesion and regional cooperation between member states and our community of citizens.
The SADC vision is one of a common future, within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standard of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice, peace and security for the peoples of Southern Africa. This shared vision is anchored on common values and principles and historical and cultural affinities that exist amongst the people of Southern Africa.
As the custodian of governments overarching communications strategy and policy, the Ministry of Communications through the GCIS and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (SADC desk), facilitates and implements our regional communication mandates.
The GCIS Chief Directorate: Media Engagement plays a secretariat role and is responsible for coordinating SADC related communication activities and these include:
• Coordinating the South African Chapter of the SADC Media Awards;
• Participating in the regional adjudication of the SADC Media Awards;
• Disseminating information to South African and SADC based media;
• Support the SADC communication programme and activities.
It is important to give this context to ensure that we work together to make the SADC Media Awards a success. As government, we invite you our partners in the private sector and state owned entities to support this initiative so that it enjoys the same prominence as the Vodacom Journalist of the Year, Standard Bank Sivukile Journalism Awards, National Press Club Journalist and Newsmaker of the Year and the Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism Awards. I challenge you to give the SADC Media Awards deserved recognition in the media and newsrooms as they too are meant to honour media practitioners who bring our communities together to foster regional integration.
Today is also special in another way that is closely linked to the awards this evening. Earlier, we began the household registration process for set-top boxes for residents inside the Square Kilometre Array area. This registration process was initiated in the community of Keimoes (Kai Garib municipality) in the Northern Cape. It is a very important milestone in the digital terrestrial television migration project and signals the start of our long awaited migration from terrestrial to digital broadcasting. Households with television sets in the SKA area will now receive fully subsidised set-top-boxes once they have completed the registration process. The Department of Communictaion is also working in tandem with SADC partners to develop a SADC television bouquet with local content sourced from the regional broadcasters in our collective domestic languages, showcasing our arts and culture, sports and music, as well as developments in the region and the rest of Africa, as well as African contributions to the world stage for global development and innovations. We are forging ahead to ensure that there is quality content and choice for all South Africans in the new digital broadcasting environment and removing the last vestiges of cultural apartheid that kept the SADC countries apart.
And so on to the awards. The SADC Media Awards have three categories for Print Journalism, Photo Journalism, Radio and Television. There is also an award for budding journalistic talent – the SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the South African SADC Media Awards winners. The entry that won the Television Category was from the SABC producers Mr Dennis Tshetlhane and Mr Sam Msibi, for their entry on the story of mine workers from the SADC region who are owed money by provident funds in South Africa. Ms Imbelani Matibe from Thengwe High School in Mutale Municipality, Limpopo won third place recognition in the SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition.
A warm round of applause to the winners please…..
Since these are annual awards, it is important for all media houses to ensure that they participate and profile the awards. Editors should encourage their reporters to participate in these awards to focus our efforts on interrogating and telling our stories.
It is important too that the media give the awards prominence in radio, television, newspapers and magazines going forward. GCIS will launch the 2016 SADC Media Awards in January, calling on entries to submit their stories for print, radio and television.
The Media Development Diversity Agency (MDDA), the Institute of the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) and the GCIS are continuously working together to ensure the success and sustainability of the awards.
However, it is only through partnership with the media and sponsors that we can achieve this dream, hence we call on all media houses and the private sector to throw their weight behind the awards. This is but one project that can grow goodwill between the public and private sectors through partnerships that complement each other for the benefit of the country, the SADC region, the African continent and ultimately the world.
We therefore, use this Thank You Dinner to launch the 2016 SADC Media Awards and call on SADC Member States to step up efforts to vigorously market and promote this important competition.
We also call on the media owners, editors and journalist to participate in the awards as soon as we launch the 2016 SADC Media Awards to promote excellence in the fields of Print Journalism, Radio Journalism, Television Journalism and Photojournalism.
In parting, allow me to personally thank the team that has been working tirelessly in ensuring that South Africa is on the SADC media map. Allow me also to pay tribute to the three previous chairpersons and the adjudicating committees for their dedication, passion and hard work in ensuring that South Africa finally stakes its claim in the awards.
I thank you
Issued by Government Communications on behalf of Department of Communications