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The Department of Communications will soon release a paper that will give the position of the government on what needs to be done to achieve media transformation.

Basani Baloyi, the Acting Director General of the Department of Communications, said this when she presented the department’s Annual Performance Plan at Marks Building in Parliament, on Wednesday.

Briefing the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises, Baloyi said the position paper was informed by the colloquium the Department of Communications held in October 2016.

“With regards to the media industry, although we have made [some] progress in this area, there are still challenges in print media and we still need to transform the media,” she said.

Baloyi said while Section 16 of the Constitution gives people the right to freedom of expression, the colloquium was held to engage the media industry on issues of transformation, which remain unaddressed since 1994.

“The aim … [of the colloquium was] not really meant for government to control the media, but we wanted to engage role players so that we can deal with the matters that have not really been dealt with since 1994.

“For example, the ownership of print media remains largely untransformed. We don’t have a plurality of views, alternative voices… and more importantly, the poor and most disadvantaged remain largely unheard in the media,” she said.

Baloyi said following the colloquium, the will “at the end of this month present a position paper on what we have engaged on and what the position of the government is”.

“That will … inform us of what needs to be done in terms of media transformation and diversity in the sector,” she said.

GCIS to up its ante

Meanwhile, the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) says it will up the ante over the next four years – between 2017 and 2020 – to enhance the reach of government communications.

Keitumetse Semakane, the Acting Deputy Director General of Corporate Services at the GCIS, said over this period, the department’s Products and Platforms unit will publish 21 editions of the Vuk’uzenzele newspaper annually, as well as 11 editions of the Public Sector Manager magazine every year.

He said an online edition of the South Africa Year Book and the Pocket Guide to South Africa will be published annually.

These publications are published and distributed to readers for free to targeted LSMS groups.

Semakane said to grow the share of the voice of government in the public arena, GCIS will continue to publish daily updates on key government programmes and activities. This will be done through the South African Government News Agency (www.sanews.gov.za) and the South African Government website (www.gov.za).

The GCIS will also release 12 social media reports per year on social media account performance.

The department will also have 16 engagements annually between government officials and senior journalists on the government plan of action and hold post-Cabinet briefings or release statements. – SAnews.gov.za

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