SOUTH AFRICA: MINISTER CEMENTS MEDIA TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says South African media must contribute towards social cohesion, transformation and fighting racism.

"As government, we believe that a diverse and transformed media will ensure a reflection of different views and opinions in languages of citizens' choices in the body of opinion, thereby promoting social cohesion, nation building, economic growth and inclusion.

"A knowledgeable and informed society will deepen democracy and active citizenry," said the Minister at the launch of Christian News newspaper in Krugersdorp, Gauteng.

She said it was her job to support local media. She encouraged the board of the newspaper to consider publishing in local and African languages to reach a broader readership, as she believed the paper will grow over the years.

The launch took place just after a successful colloquium on print and media transformation recently held by the Department of Communications and the Government Communication and Information System.

"As we celebrate our heritages in the month in September, it is important that we embrace our unity in diversity. The media should play a prominent role in educating our communities about our rich cultural legacies," said Muthambi.

She was encouraged to learn that the newspaper, which is currently being circulated bi-monthly in Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng provinces, is currently printing 50,000 copies per edition.

She said the paper should strive to write news for all, despite their religious affiliation.

However, the Minister said religious texts and teachings can serve as resources to assist women, who have experienced abuse, in finding safety and healing.

Reverend Christine Blumstein, Director of Kenneth Copeland Ministry in Africa, spoke on behalf of the board. She said it was important to give people hope and acknowledge the good that is happening in the country when many things are going wrong.

"We are going to write truth, not our perceptions," said Blumstein.

Meanwhile, speaking at the launch of Eersterus Community Radio station in Gauteng, east of Pretoria, Muthambi said government departments will continue to assist and develop community media.

"Beyond the microphones and transmitters, community radio stations continue to have a substantial and meaningful impact on their host communities.

"Your station is soon going to be entrusted with the responsibility to inform, educate and entertain your listeners. The kind of information, education and entertainment you present to your listeners will be measured by the impact you create in this community.

"Community radio stations also promote a democratic culture by providing people with information on how to access government services and in this way serves to empower members of the community to become more active and participative," Minister Muthambi said.

"We expect this station to give voice to the voiceless, women, the marginalise and the poor Eersterust Community Radio will give [them] a voice and will definitely increase the listenership figures. The Eersterust Community Radio station will be reaching people and places that national or regional media cannot, using their own special phrases and languages," the Minister said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.