Maxwell Awumah, GNA Special Correspondent, Grahamstown, South Africa
Grahamstown, South Africa, Aug. 31, GNA - Mr Luzuko Jacobs, Director, Communications, Rhodes University, has said the media has become even more relevant and powerful in the face of the multiplicity of tools available to them in the technological space amidst globalization.
He said these tools should be used to demand public and social accountability of duty-bearers in line of duty-call for the sake of equity and social justice.
Mr Jacobs said these in a pre-conference gathering of African journalists attending the 21st Highway Africa Annual conference under the theme, “Media, Accountability and Local Governance.”
The Conference is hosted by the Highway Africa in partnership with Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies and supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Barclays, Telcom and MTN.
The Conference, the largest assembly of African journalists, has been at the centre of continental debates on the interface of journalism, media and information and communication technology (ICT) for development.
He said it is imperative that journalists covering local government beats should know about the intricacies of policy, budgeting processes, expenditure processes in order to protect the public purse.
Mr Jacobs enumerated highlights from the South African Statistical-General and Auditor-General departments of wanton and harrowing dissipation of public funds without recourse to the people.
He said the conference was apt and entreated journalists to develop the intelligence to be able to nip these nation-wrecking behaviours in the bud for public benefit.
The Director urged the media and journalist to be embolden and stay above board and “Never think their roles in seeking a just society devoid of corruptible duty bearers is too small to make a change in the face of daunting challenges in the wake of media professionalism.”
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have not spent a night with a mosquito.”
Mr Chris Maroleng, Executive, Group Corporate Affairs of MTN South Africa, said the role of MTN as integral part of the global technological change was being acknowledged by the move into the world increasingly characterized by the convergences of the media, the fulcrum round which the digital platform and ICT to the processes are bearing fruits.
He said the challenges of social media, emerging issues and how news is consumed calls for innovative measures in building innovative newsrooms to embrace the industrial revolution at the same time keeping themselves in business.
The Highway Africa Annual Conference was preceded courses in science journalism, Barclays Data Journalism Master Class and Media, Accountability and Local Governance workshops.