Top hon­ours for SADC jour­nal­ists

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The South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) hon­oured jour­nal­ists in the re­gion dur­ing an awards cer­e­mony to recog­nise those who ex­cel in the pro­fes­sion.

Zam­bian jour­nal­ist Pat­son Phiri won the top prize in the print cat­e­gory at the awards, which were held in Tsh­wane re­cently.The cer­e­mony was part of the 37th SADC Sum­mit, hosted by South Africa as the in­com­ing chair of the re­gional body.

Phiri walked away with US$ 2 000 for his en­try on cas­cad­ing en­ergy and how chal­lenges are be­ing ad­dressed to put the re­gion back on the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion rails.

“It is very im­por­tant that we, as jour­nal­ists of the South­ern African re­gion, tell our own sto­ries. Many times, we are en­gulfed in news pack­aged by for­eign news agen­cies, and the verge of dis­tor­tion and the ap­petite for dis­tor­tion is quite high. As a re­sult, the world is mis­in­formed on what takes place in the re­gion,” he said.

Fly­ing the South African flag high at the awards cer­e­mony, South Africans Msibi Nkosini Sa­muel and Den­nis Tshetl­hane both won US$2 000 in the tele­vi­sion cat­e­gory, for their story which looked at the il­licit trade of min­er­als in the SADC re­gion and the grow­ing num­ber of il­le­gal min­ers op­er­at­ing in South Africa.

“Il­le­gal min­ing is a very hot topic in our coun­try right now, es­pe­cially when you look at the eco­nomic im­pact it has on com­mu­ni­ties,” said Tshetl­hane.

Other win­ners in­cluded Aris­tides Kito Afonso Jorge from An­gola, who won US$2 000 in the radio cat­e­gory. His en­try high­lighted the im­por­tance of con­ser­va­tion and the pro­tec­tion of cul­tural her­itage in South­ern Africa as a fac­tor for re­gional in­te­gra­tion.

The pho­tog­ra­phy cat­e­gory was won by Gasi­et­siwe Moru­ak­gomo from the Repub­lic of Botswana for his en­try on ferry trans­port link­ing Botswana and Zam­bia in Kasane.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Ayanda Dlodlo said the awards serve as a link for co­or­di­na­tion and syn­chro­ni­sa­tion be­tween the for­mal struc­tures of SADC mem­ber states and the me­dia.

“These awards fur­ther seek to bring and en­hance part­ner­ships be­tween me­dia and govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions in ad­vanc­ing the achieve­ments and good sto­ries of this re­gion in bet­ter­ing the lives of its cit­i­zens.”

Min­is­ter Dlodlo said SADC coun­tries needed to work to­gether to pop­u­larise the projects that are un­der­way in the re­gion.

“It is through the me­dia that the work of SADC can be vis­i­ble. We need more African voices to tell SADC sto­ries. Africa is ris­ing and we need to tell that story,” she added.

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