(Published - 19 July 2018)
A DELEGATION from the Media Society of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) attended the BRICS Media Forum on 18 and 19 July, as guests of Prof Pamela Dube, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Development and Support.
It was only the third time the BRICS Media Forum, hosted in Cape Town, was being held, and the first time it was hosted outside of China. The media forum is the forerunner to the BRICS Summit due to be held in Sandton later this month. BRICS is the primary driver for co-operation between South Africa and fellow developing nations, Brazil, China, India and Russia.
The forum explored how the media could play a role in fostering greater collaboration between developing countries.
The four UWC students who attended the forum are part of the interim leadership team spearheading the UWC student-led Media Society. The Media Society, under the guidance of Prof Dube, is forging ahead with plans to reinvigorate the presence of a student newspaper, a student radio platform and a student TV stream on campus.
Bonke Xakatha, Interim President of Radio in the Media Society, said it was a privilege for the interim leadership of the Media Society to have attended the forum.
“We aim to absorb as much information as possible so that we can use it in the UWC Media Society to enhance it to be a strong platform to entertain and educate, as well as to open up the platform for the students to air their voices about certain issues affecting them,” he said.
Lerato Toolo, Interim Secretary of the student newspaper, said the media forum opened his eyes to the importance of fostering relationships between media groups.
“Print media is not divorced from instant media and should rather work in cohesion with the latter to create fuller stories. This type of combined effort can help the Media Society create coherent content that is transferred through all the branches of society. The forum’s concentration on a global society also speaks to the Media Society’s objective,” said Toolo.
Interim Executive Member for Radio, Nondwe Mpuma, added: “The theme that has been emphasised throughout the BRICS Media Forum has been that of cooperation. This is what I hope to bring to the Media Society, especially since it is in its infancy. All the members have to work together to make sure that we engage in responsible media practices.”
Coordinator of the TV Stream, Nobesuthu Tom, said she hoped to implement “the fundamentals of reporting - for example, fact-checking”.
“The facts should not be sacrificed or compromised to satisfy the need for speed, which is the competitive advantage of social media,” she said.
Prof Dube said the students had the chance to interact with people from across the media and from different countries. She added that BRICS countries, and especially China, led investment in the media.
“The talk around media collaboration, opportunities and capacity to build communities is what interested me and, of course, the potential for the students to mix with people who are leaders in this area and who can support them in their drive to get the Media Society to establish radio, television and print on the UWC campus,” said Prof Dube.
“The Media Society platforms on campus will afford students a voice on multimedia channels. It’s about reviving radio on campus, but also about giving different student voices an opportunity to express themselves. They’ll develop skills in communication and how to present themselves. For the students to be part of debates, critical thinking and thought leadership is what we are building towards.”