Legislature Media Indaba sparks lively debate
The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature held its first Media Indaba at the Regent Hotel in East London on 19 and 20 June 2012. The Indaba saw Members of the Provincial Legislature, provincial government officials, media experts, journalists and editors engaging in constructive debate on topical issues of concern affecting the media industry. The Honourable Speaker of the Legislature, Mr F.D. Xasa, officially opened the Indaba by highlighting the key mandate of the Legislature, which includes the following: oversight role, public participation and education, and lawmaking. The Honourable Speaker emphasised the need for the media to play a meaningful role in educating the public to understand the different roles of the different arms of government.
A distinguished academic from Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies was among the guests to address the Indaba. Professor Herman Wasserman eloquently unpacked the role of the media in a democracy indicating that the media compels government to account on its actions. The Professor told the delegates that despite the fact that the government and the media have distinct roles their common constituency is the public. He proposed that alternative means should be encouraged to intensify nation-building, citing collaborative partnerships between government and the media as one example.
In exploring strategies towards creating a conducive media environment, Dr Somadoda Fikeni, ignited hot and healthy debate when he spoke on selective reporting by the media. He challenged the participants to work together to change the tarnished image of the province since the negative portrayal of the province has detrimental effects to the people of the province.
Hosting the Indaba for the Legislature has proved to be a huge success as the institution formulated its draft media strategy to guide media engagement.
MEDIA INDABA 2012: From left to right: Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Chairperson of Committees, Honourable Alfred Mtsi, Media 24's Mathatha Tsedu, Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, Media Development and Diversity Agency CEO Lumko Mtimde and Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature Speaker, Honourable Fikile Xasa.