The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has called on the media in BRICS countries to explore media partnerships in order to better tell the stories of developing economies to their citizens.
Donald Liphoko, a chief director at GCIS, said this when he participated in a panel discussion at the 3rd BRICS Media Forum at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday.
Liphoko said at government-to-government level, South Africa had forged partnerships that have seen its publications Vukuzenzele newspaper and SAnews.gov.za sign content-sharing agreements with the Russian government’s Sputnik news agency and Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency, among others.
Liphoko called for independent media in the five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to be part of the conversation and tell the stories of the progress that is being made in the emerging economies.
“What we really need is to broaden this and have more voices and more active participation from [mainstream media] so they can tell BRICS stories and engage with the vision, engage with the progress that is being made in our respective countries,” he said.
He said this would contribute to the conversation as well as people to people communication to unite citizens in all BRICS countries.
The 3rd BRICS Media Forum saw 120 media delegates from the five countries – as well as those from Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Liberia and Ghana – converge in Cape Town for the event that was hosted by the Executive Chairperson and Co-Chair of the BRICS Media Forum Cai Mngzhao and Dr Iqbal Surve.
As the country commemorated Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, Liphoko likened the BRICS partnership to ones that were forged by the world icon after his release from prison to usher in a period of peace and prosperity post-apartheid.
“More importantly, the South African government believes it has got a greater role to play in creating an enabling environment for the media to be a positive agent for social transformation.
“We were built from a difficult apartheid history where the media was an instrument to keep people apart. We have moved in the last 24 years to an era where the media has partnered government and the society at large to explore and bring to life our vision of a better life for all.
“I am challenging the media to consider BRICS as such an improbable partnership – an opportunity for us to think creatively and come up with improbable solutions to the world’s ills.
“I challenge the media to be alive to this improbable partnership. This relationship of equals formed from shared values and a deep desire to a just world order and a shared prosperity for humankind,” he said.
The Star editor Mathanda Ncube, who was the moderator of the panel discussion, said that based on views from his counterparts in other BRICS countries there was a lot the respective media houses could do together in sharing the stories from their countries.