Governments must support the media

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director-General Phumla Williams says is it is imperative for governments in the African continent to support the media.

“The media have the ability to inform public discourse which is imperative in strengthening democracy in the continent and telling our stories the way we want,” Williams said.

Interacting with journalists from various African countries who are visiting South Africa at the GCIS invitation, Williams told the visiting journalists that through media tours they can enhance their work of informing, engaging and enlightening citizens.

“There is room for the media and our respective governments to engage around a common vision of building a stronger and better world and the continent.

“It is our firm belief that African media should tell our own stories. We cannot expect others to tell our stories. It is up to us to show an interest in African issues and share our innovations and successes with the world,” Williams said.

Williams said it is also time that governments choose African media as primary sources rather than preferring sources that are outside the continent.

“For far too long we have allowed foreign media which do not fully understand the complexities and challenges of our continent to tell our stories,” she said.

Touching on the recent xenophobic incidences, Williams said South Africans are peace-loving people, they are not xenophobic.

“Foreign nationals are welcomed in South Africa,” she said.

Williams expressed concern about the manner in which some media portrays the country by their reporting.

During the interaction, the visiting journalists were afforded an opportunity to ask questions.

GCIS is hosting a media delegation from various African countries for a tour in South Africa.

GCIS has established international media relations with countries across Africa, and has invited senior journalists to visit South Africa to engage with its people, institutions and government departments on the issues of refugees, migration and integration of Africa.

These senior journalists have been supportive and have published South Africa’s voice in their countries’ news platforms on issues of trade and people’s development as well as on the issues of recent violence and criminality in South Africa.

Government believes that media interactions and tour will improve content sharing on the developments that are currently taking place in South Africa and other countries that are participating in the Africa Free Trade Area.

During the media tour, the GCIS will showcase the country’s governance systems, especially in the immigration and justice cluster, the independence of the Judiciary and the benefits of Chapter Nine institutions.

One of the visiting journalists, Ali Adoyi, from Nigeria, who works for Daily Post of Nigeria, told SAnews that there is a need for media collaboration.

“This is the right time for the narrative to change,” he said.

Adoyi said the South African government handled the recent xenophobic incidences amicable.

Mirriam Chabala from Zambia, who works for the News Diggers, told SAnews that visiting South Africa has changed the way she used to think about South Africa.

“South Africa is a great country,” she said, adding that she was impressed by the manner in which the South African government handled the xenophobic incidences.

“Government did its best in dealing with the xenophobic incidences,” she said.

Lloyd Chitsulo, from Malawi, who works for the National Publication Limited in Malawi said it is important for SADC media to collaborate.

The media tour is in collaboration with, Brand SA, DIRCO, Department of Home Affairs, Department of Justice, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), MISTRA, Africa Fact Check and the SABC. –