Collaboration key to continuous coverage of service delivery issues

Collaboration key to continuous coverage of service delivery issues

A collaboration between the media, community media and NGOs based in communities is key to sustaining the coverage of service delivery issues contributing to community development post-elections.

These were the remarks shared by some of the panellists during a webinar on Friday, hosted by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in partnership with the National Press Club on the role of media in advocating for community development post the local government elections.

The webinar sought to encourage media to continue covering service delivery issues and communicate the role of media in informing citizens about community development processes post the elections.

Programme Manager at Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) South Africa, Mira Dutschke, said that it is important for media to work closely together with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in communities in order to track and tell stories of service delivery.

Dutschke acknowledged that resources are a challenge but this kind of partnership will be able to aid journalists who will not have to travel all the way to these communities if they work with NGOs to tell good stories that will keep citizens engaged.

“There are a lot of opportunities for citizens to be encouraged to participate post-elections. We can’t monitor everything but what we can do is talk about success stories where things have gone well. It’s important for media and NGOs to work closely together because we have a lot of those stories,” she said.

Executive Director at the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF), Reggy Moalusi added that it is not realistic to keep the coverage ongoing until the next election due to resources being a challenge especially to community media.

“What we have learnt with this election is that let’s keep our eyes on the ground and as media, let’s go back to basics and put the audience and people first,” he said.

General Secretary at the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF), Thabang Pusoyabone said that community media plays a critical role as it is a platform that is on the ground at local government level.

Although funding remains a challenge, Pusoyabone reiterated that community radio is a key area in local media when it comes to government elections because it is the closest to the community.

He added that there is indeed a need for community media to have a relationship with NGOs in communities.

“We have to focus on specific issues that relate to the local community. As a platform, I agree that we must be deliberate in fostering those type of dialogues. But without funding we are unable to reach some of the communities to cover their stories as we exist to give those communities a voice,” he said.

Efforts to address low voter turnout

Special Projects Coordinator at Activate Change Drivers, Kgotso Sothoane, said that the low voter turnout in the 2021 Local Government Elections can be addressed if communities are given a platform to voice out what they want from the government.

Sothoane said that one of the most important tasks the media has is to create a platform for listening to new voices and mindsets. The solution he said, lies in the collaboration of the media, civil society and the private sector.

“There is a role that civil society plays in communities, there is a role that communities themselves play in their development but also there is a role that different stakeholders can play in ensuring that we have a vibrant democracy. We all have a role to play and we need to create conditions where we collaborate towards finding new ways of thinking and dealing with our challenges.

He urged the media and stakeholders to tap into the potential that young people represent and bring that energy in amplifying the voice of communities around development. –SAnews.

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