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South Africa – A call for The Development Of A Code Of Ethics For The Regional Media

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: ZAgov}

South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maseru – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has made a call for the development of a code of ethics for the media in the region.

The call was made by the chairperson of the region’s Ministerial Committee responsible for public information, Christopher Dlangamandla at the opening of the two-day meeting in Maseru, Lesotho on Thursday.

“We are calling on member states to strengthen codes of ethics to boost the public confidence and professionalism in the public information subsector. This is the way to go, as the public needs to trust the media, and we need to ensure that a code of ethics for the SADC media should be developed.

“State parties needs to take necessary measures to ensure the development of media that are editorially independent and conscious of their obligations to the public and greater society,” he said.

According to Dlangamandla, this has been a challenge as media still grapple with ethical issues and publications of what is deemed right.

“This is evident by the various litigations against these publications and retractions by the media. The state of media in the region needs to be looked into holistically and we need to learn how others have tackled such issues.

“While each member state has its own accreditation process, we are encouraging a harmonised regional accreditation system amongst member states, for ease of operation across SADC … It is time SADC adheres to that,” he said.

Digital Migration

Dlangamandla urged member states to adhere to the SADC Road Map for Digital Broadcasting Migration, which has a common vision for the SADC region to have a smooth transition from analogue to digital broadcasting through harmonised and concerted strategy.

“Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is going to transform the terrestrial broadcasting industry by enabling it to provide better picture and sound quality, more choices for the viewer with new innovative and value-added services on many platforms,” he said.

He said the meeting was important because it addresses aspects of SADC Public Information, from the SADC Declaration and Treaty of 1995 and the Revised Indicative Strategy on Development and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II).

The documents are meant to ensure that SADC information is disseminated in an efficient and timely manner to all citizens so as to avoid ambiguity.

SIPO II, which was launched in 2012, reflects on the milestones and challenges of implementation faced by member states and other implementing stakeholders.

Dlangamandla said there has been substantial progress in the SADC region on issues related to political governance, the observation of elections, the establishment of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) and the mediation units.

“There is need to encourage civil society to conflict prevention, management and resolution and this is includes the media,” he said.

Lesotho’s Communications, Science and Technology Minister Khotso Letsatsi said the meeting intended to review the SADC Communications Strategy and to redefine the role of the Ministers of Information in driving the SADC communications and information agenda.

He said the review was necessitated by the adoption of the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2015-2020), the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), the African Union Agenda 2063 and the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Telecommunications Union digital migration initiative.

“Information is key to the development of our region in today’s knowledge and information driven society. In order to fully achieve regional integration and ensure accountability and promote public participation in the affairs and activities of our regional body, we must have a robust communications strategy,” he said.

Minister Letsatsi said while SADC was established more than 35 years ago, many people in the region are still not aware of the work, achievements and programmes of the organisation.

“We’ve achieved many milestones and are in the process of implementing a number of very important programmes and yet these remain unknown to the majority of our people,” he said.

{source: SAnews.gov/za}

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[photo credits: OER Africa [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

 

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