Chairperson of Sekunjalo Group Dr Iqbal Survé has called for BRICS countries to support independent journalism in the face of fake news and disinformation and media attacks against independent media voices. He was speaking during the 6th BRICS Media Forum held at Houghton Hotel on Saturday. Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA).
Mininster Fu Hua
Minister Hu Hepping
Mr. Dimitri Gornostaev
Mr. Srinivasan Ramani
Mr. Jose Juan Sanchez
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen and Colleagues from the Media.
As the South African Chairman of the BRICS Media Forum, I am truly honoured to stand before you today. This forum unites us not just as representatives of media organisations, but as champions of a shared purpose that will shape a new and just world order.
The inception of the BRICS Media Forum stands as a testament to the idea that when we join forces, we amplify our impact. We recognized the potential to transcend borders, cultures, and languages – to foster understanding and facilitate dialogue among our nations. It is more than a gathering of media houses; it is a symbol of our collective strength, shared values, and shared aspirations.
Our mission goes beyond storytelling; it’s about truth, fostering understanding, and driving positive change.
In a world facing complex challenges, unity is our path to finding solutions. Our collaboration provides the platform to explore, discuss, and share these solutions, facilitating dialogue, and bridging the gaps that sometimes divide us. Our unity underscores our belief in shared values and stories, forging a stronger, more informed world.
Let’s reignite trust in journalism, serving as beacons of integrity. By sharing resources, insights, and innovative practices, we can reshape the media landscape and inspire the next generation of storytellers.
NEW WORLD ORDER
Today, we convene at the BRICS Media Forum to discuss vital topics that extend beyond our newsrooms. As media houses, our role carries great responsibility, as we shape narratives that can influence the new world order.
The new world order isn’t just about geopolitics; it encompasses ideas, values, and aspirations guiding humanity. In this evolving era, where media’s role transcends borders, our forum becomes crucial in shaping this narrative.
BRICS nations collectively represent a significant part of the world’s population and economy. Our diverse cultures and viewpoints enrich global conversations. With this diversity, we advocate for an inclusive, cooperative, and just new world order.
By harnessing our strengths in the BRICS Media Forum, we contribute to a world of cooperation and shared progress, striving to overcome conflicts.
So, how can we leverage our platform to shape this new world order?
Sharing best practices, such as fact-checking methods and ethical reporting guidelines, can help counter disinformation.
Developing media literacy programs can educate citizens across BRICS nations about credible sources, understanding bias, and critically evaluating information.
Prioritising objective reporting, focusing on facts and multiple perspectives, builds trust among media and audiences, reducing the likelihood of sensationalism or misinformation.
Our digital presence must be harnessed strategically. Social media and digital platforms transcend borders, making them powerful tools to engage with a global audience. By effectively utilising these platforms, we can ensure that our message of cooperation, mutual respect, and justice reaches every corner of the world. Emphasise collaborating on digital marketing strategies that underpin the digital media realm in order to optimise our impact.
We should amplify the voices of the marginalised and under-represented. Our forum can shed light on the challenges faced by developing nations, giving them a platform to express their perspectives and aspirations. By highlighting the stories of those who are often overlooked, we contribute to a world order that values every voice.
To achieve a world order where diplomacy and communication are prioritised over confrontation, we must bridge gaps and foster dialogue.
This can be achieved through exchanges and workshops that allow journalists to learn about each other’s cultures, histories, and challenges. This reduces stereotypes and enhances empathy, leading to more accurate and sensitive reporting. We must stand against narratives of division and promote narratives of unity.
Yet, even as we endeavour to contribute to the new world order, we are confronted with the challenge of anti-BRICS sentiment that undermines our collective progress.
In recent times, we find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented wave of information warfare that seeks to exploit our unity and erode our collaborative efforts.
Misinformation and misconceptions breed scepticism and hinder our efforts to secure financial aid and support.
Media houses stand as the front-line defence against misinformation.
Just as soldiers are entrusted with the protection of a nation, media practitioners bear the responsibility of safeguarding accurate information.
Amidst waves of sensationalism and false narratives, our commitment to truth and ethical journalism serves as a shield against the erosion of reliable information.
Just as a skilled general strategises to counter threats, we must actively exchange best practices in countering disinformation. By developing robust media literacy programs, we empower our societies to discern fact from fiction.
We address the challenge of anti-BRICS sentiment, aiming to counter discord and foster collective progress.
Truth is our strongest weapon against it.
To dispel negativity and foster a more informed perspective, we must disseminate accurate information, showcase the benefits of our collaboration, and engage in open dialogues.
Media can provide responsible journalism, while education campaigns and analysis inform audiences about BRICS benefits.
The BRICS constitution expanded to address broader global challenges, and we must prioritise social cohesion through transparency, education, engagement, and cultural diplomacy. Together, we can counter anti-BRICS sentiment, stand united for truth, education, engagement, and highlight the alliance’s relevance and positive impacts.
In our pursuit of truth, we must also champion the cause of a free press and independent media.
In South Africa, the birth of independent media bore witness to a nation’s struggle for freedom. It is a testament to our commitment to counter oppressive forces, to seek accountability, and to uphold the voices of the marginalised. The mission of independent media resonates with our quest for justice and equality.
In our country’s darkest times, the media became the beacon of hope, revealing the atrocities of apartheid and mobilising global support for our struggle. It was through the power of information that the world became aware, united in solidarity, and eventually contributed to our triumph over oppression.
This narrative reminds us of the potency of media to effect change, to challenge the status quo, and to inspire progress.
However, the fight for a free press extends beyond our borders.
The influence of BRICS alliance, representing half the world’s population, must champion press freedom. We stand in solidarity with fellow African nations, advocating for press freedom – a cornerstone of democracy.
In Africa, false information obstructs progress, deters investments, and erodes trust. Misleading narratives deepen divisions, eroding social cohesion and fostering mistrust among communities. Polarization disrupts rational dialogue, stifles collaboration, and gives rise to extremism. This problem extends beyond borders, causing international tensions and conflicts.
To address this, media literacy education is vital. Especially as the dissemination of news on social media does not uphold to traditional standards. Equipping individuals with critical thinking skills helps combat fake news. International collaboration is key to identifying and countering disinformation sources. Cross-border fact-checking mechanisms deter the spread of falsehoods.
COLLAB WITH AFRICA
Africa, a continent of rich cultural diversity and immense potential, stands at the threshold of a new era. Our collaboration with Africa is not just a strategic move; it is a commitment to leveraging our collective strength to uplift the voices of an entire continent. This collaboration is a testament to our belief in a global media landscape that reflects diversity, inclusivity, and shared aspirations.
Africa’s journey toward sustainable development and prosperity aligns seamlessly with the goals of the BRICS Media Forum. By lending our collective voice to the African narrative, we can highlight the successes, challenges, and aspirations of the continent. Our stories can inspire international cooperation, attract investment, and ultimately contribute to Africa’s growth trajectory.
In this journey, let us remember that our collaboration with Africa is not just a one-way street. Africa’s vibrant cultures, stories, and perspectives enrich our global dialogue. By embracing this diversity, we promote cross-cultural understanding and amplify the voices of those who deserve to be heard. Together, we can counter the homogenisation of news and create a media ecosystem that resonates with all corners of the world.
In conclusion, our journey as part of the BRICS alliance holds great significance in shaping a better world. By addressing anti-BRICS sentiment through transparency, education, engagement, cultural diplomacy, and emphasizing our contributions, we strengthen our foundation for progress. Together, we have the power to dispel misconceptions and build a narrative that resonates globally.
As we move forward, let us stay united in our commitment to uphold the true essence of BRICS and work collaboratively towards a future of shared growth and understanding.
Furthermore, by championing a free press and independent media, we pay homage to the struggles of our past while contributing to a more just and informed global landscape.
Let us embody the role of truth-bearers, defenders of justice, and architects of a new world order founded on principles of cooperation and advancement. As we deliberate, let us hold fast to the wisdom of Nelson Mandela: “A critical, independent, and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.”
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