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Media urged to participate in SADC Media Awards

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has called on media houses to encourage their reporters to participate in the annual Southern African Development Community (SADC) Media Awards.

"It is important for all media houses to ensure that they participate in 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. The GCIS [Government Communication and Information System] will launch the 2016 SADC Media Awards in January, calling for entries in print, radio and television," she said.

Minister Muthambi was speaking at a dinner to celebrate the winners of the 2015 SADC Media Awards at Freedom Park on Friday night. This year's winners were also recognised at the 35th Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government in Gaborone, Botswana in August.

She used the dinner to call on SADC member countries to step up efforts to market and promote the important competition. She said the 2016 SADC Media Awards will promote excellence in the fields of print, radio, television and photojournalism.

Image via Pixabay
Image via Pixabay

"I challenge you to give the SADC Media Awards deserved recognition in the media and newsrooms as they are meant to honour media practitioners who bring our communities together to foster regional integration," she said.

Launched in 1996, the annual SADC Media Awards promote regional integration through information dissemination as well as promoting journalism excellence in the region.

SADC television bouquet

Minister Muthambi said her department was working with its SADC partners to develop a regional television bouquet with local content sourced from regional broadcasters.

This will be done in their domestic languages showcasing arts and culture, sports, music as well as developments in the region and the rest of Africa.

This will ensure Africa contributes 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.

"The SADC vision is one of a common future, within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement in 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," she said.

National Adjudicating Committee chairperson Livhuwani Mutshatshi said they had received 40 entries.

"This is the highest number of the entries since the inception of the awards. The stories that we want from journalists should seek to promote regional integration or should at least focus on how more than two countries are doing to improve the lives of the people."

Apart from the three SADC Media Awards categories, there is also an award for budding journalistic talent - the SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) producers of Leihlo la Sechaba, Dennis Tshetlhane and Sam Msibi scooped the television category for their entry on the story of mine workers from the SADC region who are owed money by provident funds in South Africa.

Alon Skuy from The Times newspaper, who won the Photojournalism Award, said it was exciting to be recognised for the wonderful job of informing people about all the development in the region. "While the awards will motivate us to tell more stories of the SADC region, they will also make people appreciate the role journalists are playing in the society."

SOURCE is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.

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