The edition of the Media Landscape 2014 book, which is devoted to tracing 20 years of the South African media with a view to crafting a way forward, will be launched in Johannesburg, on Friday.
Two decades since the dawn of democracy, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said the journalists who used to be harassed, banned or imprisoned during the apartheid era, now have a good story to tell.
“In South Africa, there is cause to celebrate… .the media definitely has a good story to tell. Media freedom is guaranteed there is increasing media diversity more community radio stations are on air and journalists are able to work without intimidation or fear,” she said.
However, Minister Muthambi said there is more work that still needs to be done, adding that print media ownership is a cause for concern as transformation has been slow.
“Media diversity also needs to be deepened – citizens should be able to receive media in the indigenous languages and content should reflect a range of viewpoints.
“Government also has a duty to ensure that more and more citizens are reached and kept informed so that they are able to participate in issues that affect them and in taking South Africa forward,” she said.
Minister Muthambi said with the revolution in technology, people are now living in the world that is unrecognisable from that of 20 years ago. She said Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have turned everyone into a reporter.
“Citizens are taking to social media sites to report, inform, debate and discuss, while journalists are adapting to the new media and media houses are diversifying their print media platforms and entering the realm of cyberspace.
“Government is also actively engaging with these platforms to introduce policy and programmes and to engage with citizens,” she said.
Minister Muthambi said it is important for everyone to acknowledge and appreciate how things have changed in the media landscape. “We should pause and reflect on the last 20 years of the media and see what has worked and where we might have gone wrong.
“Let us discuss and debate robustly, but in the end aim to forge a vision for the media that ensures that all South Africans are kept informed, are educated and are entertained,” she said.
The book contains chapters from various media experts including William Bird, Shaka Sisulu, Reg Rumney and Professor Tawana Kupe, who discuss the changes that have taken place in the media sector since 1994, and provide a vision for the future.
It aims to stimulate debate around current issues impacting the media environment in South Africa.
During the launch, speakers expected include Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Nadia Bulbulia from the National Association of Broadcasters and Mpumelelo Mkhabela from the Sowetan.
Experts from various media institutions, journalism schools and community media practitioners are also expected to attend.
The Media Landscape 2014: “Celebrating 20 Years of South Africa’s Media” reflects on the changes in the media environment and considers how far South Africa has come in this time.
Source : SAnews.gov.za