While the government’s commitment to media freedom remained steadfast, it was concerned about the skewed patterns of media ownership in the country, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Brics Media Forum in Cape Town, Mokonyane told delegates from media houses in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that media freedom was protected under the Constitution.
“We can guarantee that these freedoms are quite important to government and we’ll continue to nurture and protect them,” she said.
However, government was concerned that the ownership of media and the entire value chain, including publishing and advertising, remained largely in white hands.
“It simply cannot be acceptable that patterns of ownership across the value chain remain largely unchanged 24 years into our democracy.”
Turning to the role media could play in development in Brics countries, Mokonyane said journalists were vital to promote peaceful development not only in the bloc’s countries but beyond.
“As the Brics bloc we should also strive to do better in coordinating our efforts to deal with the challenges facing the world, including fighting terrorism, hunger … and addressing climate change,” she said.
“The media can be the best platform to rebuild a just world order and to reconstruct a new globe that would seek to make sure every human being’s rights are protected …”