The MDDA-Sanlam Annual Local Media Awards are a major contributor to the strengthening and development of local media, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
“The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)-Sanlam awards are a major contributor to the promotion and strengthening of local media and the promotion of media transformation, development and diversity,” she said.
Minister Muthambi was speaking at the glittering 2014 MDDA-Sanlam fifth Annual Local Media Awards at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg on Friday night.
Two Port Elizabeth based local media instances – one print and one radio – featured in this years awards; Star Nyembezi of Bay FM was awarded the prize as Best Sports Programme and in th ecolumns category Thembakazi Mbobela from local broasdsheet Your Money scooped the award.
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The awards, co-sponsored and organised by the MDDA and Sanlam, celebrate and promote excellence in community media, including print, radio and television, and local media owned by the mainstream media, such as small commercial print.
The Minister said government’s interest in the media transformation process was aimed at ensuring the media sector develops and transforms from within, in order to contribute to the broader development of society and the economy.
“We are of the view that an informed nation is an empowered nation; one that is able to make sense of conditions and the world around us and is able to be part of developing the solutions to the many challenges facing our country as well as our continent,” she said.
“As government we will not shy away from our responsibility. We know that there is a need for us to support community and local media, which if not supported through government funding, will die a natural death.”
She said this would be detrimental to democracy because there would be an information gap.
“My department will continue to support community media. We want to take you along as equal partners.”
The Minister said the department will soon be embarking on a massive public awareness campaign on digital migration, which will require a local media partnership. The partnership would ensure that the process of digital migration is simplified and that all understand the benefits.
The award finalists were selected from some 800 entries – a record number since the awards were established five years ago.
The finale on Friday evening celebrated the overall winners:
The Best Community Station award went to Aganang FM from the North West Province.
The Rantho Letsebe Award went to Zibonele FM from the Western Cape, a station established in 1993 in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, as a homemade radio station.
The Print Journalist of the Year went to Andries van Zyl of the Zoutpansberger, based in Makhado in Limpopo.
Samantha Trail, awarded Press Photographer of the Year, submitted compelling moments from hard news, sport, recreation and everyday life, providing pictures that truly tell a story.
Winner of the Hultzer Prize for Corporate Owned Paid Newspapers with a circulation of less than 10 000 went to Mpumalanga News.
The Lowvelder was awarded the Cronwright Trophy for Corporate Owned Paid Newspapers with a circulation of more than 10 000.
In the Broadcast categories, Best Indigenous Music Programme went to Saziso Dlamini, Radio Khwezi; Best Children’s Programme to Sameera Bamath, Radio Islam and Best Sports Programme was awarded to Star Nyembezi of Bay FM.
Excellence in News Coverage was awarded to Nothile Zwane, Radio Khwezi; Excellence in Indigenous Languages to Saziso Dlamini, Radio Khwezi, and Foster Chauke, Giyani Community Radio.
The Best Business Programme went to Marcia Hadebe, Vukani Community Radio.
Winner of the Best Educational Programme was Sandile Mbili, Radio Khwezi; Best Drama, Mbalenhla Mthethwa, Radio Khwezi and Excellence in Investigative Journalism went to Paul McNally, VOW FM.
In the Community and Small Commercial Print categories, awards for Photography went to Hugo Redelinghuys of the George Herald for Sport; Lazarus Dithagiso of the Sedibeng Ster for News; and Monique Dural of the People’s Post for Features and Portraits.
For Writing, the award for Grassroots Hard News was awarded to Joseph Ramatamo Sehoai of Greater Alex Today; to Jabulani Jonk Mashamba, Greater Alex Today, for Grassroots Focus On People; Andries van Zyl, Zoutpansberger for Hard News; Dustin Wetedevich, Potch Herald for Investigative Reporting, Andries van Zyl, Zoutpansberger, for Focus on People: Human Interest; and Hugo Redelinghuys, George Herald, for Sport.
Winner in the Columns category was Sibusiso Biyela, Stanger Weekly and for Personal Finance was Thembakazi Mbobela, Your Money.
The judges for the awards were drawn from leading media figures in the broadcast and print industry.
MDDA acting CEO Duduzile Nchoba said it was very encouraging to see the use of South Africa’s indigenous languages in the broadcast entries received for this year’s awards.
“As the MDDA, this is a focal point in our efforts to nurture and grow media diversity, enabling our communities to tell their own stories in their own languages,” said Nchoba.
Sanlam’s Head of Group Communications, Ainsley Moos said: “The number and quality of the entries we received this year is testimony to the growth in stature the community media is enjoying.”
Many of the entries came from the remote corners of the country and entrants must be congratulated for the standards achieved, often in a very resource poor environment. – By Nthambeleni Gabara, SAnews.gov.za