What we learned from China: SA Communications Minister

 ·27 Jul 2015

The South African and Chinese media need to improve their coverage to inform the world about the achievements of the two nations, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

“Through our bilateral relations with China, we’ve achieved a lot in terms of improving the lives of our people, but my view is that our media are not doing enough to share these stories of success with our people and the people of the world.

“We expect our media to play their roles by reporting accurate and balanced stories … stories that will promote our mutual understanding and friendship, stories that deepen our cooperation,” she said.

Minister Muthambi was speaking to SAnews at the 2015 Ministerial Workshop on Development and TV Media for Developing Countries which is underway in Changsha City in China.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) CEO, Frans Matlala, said the visit was part of leveraging on the partnership between South Africa, Africa and China, in the context of BRICS where the developing countries have a common goal.

“For us it’s a partnership of equal partners in different strengths that complement each other. South Africa brings a totally different strength from what China brings and it is the same with Russia, Brazil and India,” said Matlala.

SABC Chair, Professor Obert Maguvhe, said during the visit the delegation had learnt that broadcasting in China is regulated by the state. Radio and tv serve as the mouthpiece of both government and the ruling party and there have been reforms in terms of digitisation of the media industry, film, radio and broadcasting since 1999.

“We do things differently, but it is our view that we were able to use this platform to share with all the attendees how as the public broadcaster we cover all the government programme of action such as the izimbizo’s.

“Another thing we’ve learnt from China is that accuracy is as important as speed for the media.”

Tanzanian Assah Mwambene said through their partnership with China, that country was able to meet the 15 June International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline to migrate from analogue to a digital broadcasting system.

“What we’ve learn from the Chinese is that the media is regulated  by the state and the people are happy because the media is fulfilling its mandate of informing them about their own government programme of action as well as promoting and preserving their culture.”

The Ministerial Workshop was attended by officials from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Pakistan, Belarus, Colombia, Cuba, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama and Sri Lanka.

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