Govt wants more engagements with media

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pretoria - The Presidency says government is looking forward to more "consultative dialogues" with the media following what it called a "successful" meeting between the two parties on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by his Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel and Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane, had met with media owners that included Print Media SA chairperson Prakash Desai to discuss various issues including the country's New Growth Path unveiled late last year.

The Presidency said Zuma welcomed the interaction with this important sector of South Africa's society, remarking that their products - from newspapers, magazines, to radio stations and television channels, provided a platform and mirror to project the country's life and society.

A number of issues were discussed including government's proposal to withdraw alcohol advertising.

"The President said government was concerned about the negative impact of alcohol abuse on society, especially on the poor, and needed to act to mitigate the problem. The industry leaders felt the advertising withdrawal might seriously impact on jobs and business. It was agreed that this matter needs to be debated further between the two parties".

There had also been some concerns regarding government's centralised advertising but the Presidency said Zuma had clarified that such a decision was a cost saving measure on the part of government and not a punitive one based on the content of print media. It was explained that the bulk buying decision was made as early as 1998.

The media owners further appraised the President of their own challenges in the industry including regulatory constraints which they wanted to discuss further. It was agreed that another session would be held soon, focusing on the media as a business, hosted by the Department of Communications.

The meeting "appreciated" a presentation by Economic Development Minister, Ebrahim Patel on the New Growth Path and several ideas were put forward on how to implement and communicate the programme better, and to mobilise society to ensure success.