The South African Government’s Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) department has emphasised the need for use of local media within Africa as a primary source of news.
GCIS acting director general Phumla Williams, who is also the country’s Cabinet spokesperson, said this during the opening of a week-long media engagement tour of African journalists in South Africa on Tuesday.
She said it is important that local media within Africa is used as it tells the continent’s stories in a narrative that portrays African issues as they are.
Said Williams: “It is time that we choose African media as primary sources rather than those outside the continent. For far too long, we have allowed foreign media which do not fully understand the complexities and challenges of our continent to tell our stories.
“I am not saying we should not use these agencies but the point is that Africa is not setting its own agenda.”
She called on governments to support the media, saying it shapes public discourse which is key in strengthening democracy in the continent and telling African stories in an authentic way.
In his introductory remarks, acting deputy director general for GCIS intergovernmental coordination and stakeholder management Michael Currin said the interaction between media professionals from the continent makes it easy to share critical information that can help shape good opinion about the continent’s development.
The GCIS invited eight journalists from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya on the media engagement tour.
During the tour, journalists are expected to interact with South African government agencies, ministries and departments on a number of issues affecting the African continent.