Challenge is to find the stories
The media have a crucial role to play in the developing world, particularly the Brics countries, says
Of that, over 3.6bn, about 40% of the world’s population, live in five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a vision to lift billions of people out of poverty, to show that development can happen with collaboration; after all, it is collaboration, the sharing of ideas and implementation of this vision, that can change the world for the better.
The media are a powerful and influential force.
Some will continue painting Brics nations in a bad light, highlighting slow development and corruption, whether factual or perceived.
Some will show up country differences as schisms, instead of differences in policies. Brics countries are, after all, five nations with differing policy frameworks and views. None of that is contested. I see, as you sit here, your passion for journalism and media in its entirety and how you can channel that passion into Brics stories.
I get very excited when I see content which gets to the heart of the matter, where we give a voice to the people whose lives are impacted every time Brics cuts red tape and works together to build infrastructure.
Every time that happens, lives change. The challenge is ours to find those human stories which show how effective Brics can be.
I am not advocating that all stories should be positive. Brics countries must be held accountable for all their actions, good or bad. It is the role of the media to highlight both. It is the media which have the strength and the power to influence policy change.
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said: “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanise. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
Barends is Independent Media’s chief of staff and a senior executive at the Sekunjalo Group. This was her message at the Brics Media Forum in Beijing, China this week.
Independent Media chief of staff Zenaria Barends addressed delegates at the Brics Media Forum in Beijing, China. She said it was vital the media continued to shine a light of hope and empowerment in Brics nations.