Johannesburg – The SADC Media Awards are a powerful tool to drive the narrative of a new Africa, one of unlimited potential and a renewed hope for a better future, South Africa's minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has said.
The minister was speaking during the SADC Media Awards event held in Centurion, Pretoria, on Friday were he added that the awards were a firm pointer to the fact that Africa is on the rise.
“These awards are an integral part of Africa reclaiming our own story and driving the narrative. The stories we tell are uniquely ours, and within them are tales of hope, change and renewal. Africa is changing and so too are outdated and myopic views of our continent. Africa is home to us all and its future success and growth lies in our collective hands. We dare not allow others to drive the agenda and steer our future.”
The minister added that media practitioners and journalists from the SADC region constituted a vital intellectual and practical contribution to a collective continental effort to create a better Africa and a better world.
He said journalists and media practitioners are responsible for a powerful institution which provides for important platforms of communication.
“The institution you are responsible for has tremendous power to influence our thinking, attitude and behaviour. The media must and should, welcome investigative journalism, courage and commitment to expose corruption, wrongs, bad, rights, good, the truth, through accurate, factual and fair reporting. It is only through staying true to the values which underpin your profession that we will collectively realise the vision of a prosperous Africa
"Africa is truly on the rise and I am pleased to say that our rise is being reported by our own media. Our future and our prospects as a region as ever remained intertwined," said the minister.
The minister also took the opportunity to announce that entries for the 2020 media awards are now open.
"Those we recognise today have showed conclusively that we can tell our own stories in a compelling and transformative manner. Before closing, it would be remiss of me not to announce that entries for the 2020 SADC Media Awards are now open," he added.
The awards are open to journalists from the SADC member states and entries close on 28 February 2020.
The SADC Media Awards were initiated by the SADC Council of Ministers in 1996.
The rationale was to ensure that SADC programmes are profiled and communicated by the media. These awards serve as part of ensuring a link, coordination and synchronisation between formal structures of SADC governments, civil society, academia, labour and the media.
To promote regional integration and cooperation (cross-border issues), the awards aim to recognise excellence in journalism in the area of print, photojournalism, television and radio as well as to encourage media practitioners in member states to cover issues pertaining to the region for the promotion of regional integration and cooperation.