By Moses Moreroa
The Media Development and Diversity Agency(MDDA) in partnership with the University of Limpopo(UL) held a media, culture and tradition dialogue at Hall R-40 in Turfloop Campus.
The MDDA aims at pursuing Media Development for our Democracy in accordance with its mandate, the MDDA exists to ensure an 'enabling environment' for continued media diversification, giving people from all demographic groups in South Africa a chance to participate in public-sphere communication. Broadly, its aim is to create an environment where a diverse, vibrant and creative media flourishes - one that reflects the needs of all South Africans.
In collaboration to UL, which aims at being a world-class African university which responds to education, research and community development needs through partnerships and knowledge generation continuing a long tradition of empowerment।
The event was blessed by the attendance of Lumko Mtimde, Chief Executive Officer of MDDA। He has given a clear overview of how media should function. "media freedom must not be under any threat, let us leave the fictional part of the story and focus on the facts. The secrecy bill does not exist, there is no jurisdiction in the world that does not have the protection of state information. Let us practice professionalism and investigative journalism. The content that we consume must interest all people by producing our own views and opinions regarding our languages and culture", he said.
The event most wanted opinions from media practitioners on what are the opportunities and challenges that they face on daily gathering and reportage of news। The UL media studies lecturer Vusimuzi Mabuza was one to break the ice. "You may use your own language, but, what is critical is mindset. If people still think like Europeans, then there will be a problem is preserving African culture and media diversity", Mabuza implied.
Despite meaningful inputs added by media practitioners, traditional leaders also had something to say when coming to culture and media। Honourable Chief Rampududu, said media should collaborate with royal houses on how to approach them since there is a steep protocol to follow. "Journalists should be trained, particularly young ones, in the community they serve. MDDA should monitor such media literacy for success", he added.
In addition, Ms Madima, who is a print media studies lecturer, sustaintiate by adding the issue of attitude and behaviour towards media and culture। "What you have been taught reflects your personal traits। You cannot go and interview a chief while chewing a gum", she laughs.
Also the Director of the School of Languages and Communications in the university, Professor Richard Madadzhe, emphasised on the distortion and misrepresentation of utterances। This is led by misinformation and high level of ignorancy among young journalists. "I usually visits my chief during December vacations. It is our culture to nurture the chief with gifts. I normally give him R500 or so for Christmas present. What would the misinformed journalist write? I paid bribery", said the director before facilitating the forging of partnerships.
In appreciation, Deputy Press Ombudsman, John Retief further stressed the point of language equity। "All 11 official languages should be met in our local media and must be supported by the nation and many advertising agencies। Media should be diversified and we should send out skilled journalists who will bring out interesting content so that we avoid duplicity of information",urged Retief.
The event was ended by the grace of the Head of Department in Media, Communication and Information Studies, Professor Sheila Mmusi। In her closing remarks, she argued that, we must be culture sensitive by not looking our culture in an international way। She said, "Young people need to be encouraged to learn indigenous languages and the eldery should not misinterpret our cultures".
She declared the event to be success as their mission is reralised and most dominating factors to underdevelopment has been identified. "Media students in my faculty should take one or two indigenous languages to third or even honours level in their programmes. We need to invest in Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) by not consulting Department of Education, but add such information in media ethics and linguistics", she concluded.