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Are you ready for revolution, comrade?
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00
Written by Martin Czernowalow
Just over a week ago, members of the local media finally had their first brush with the country’s new minister of communications, Faith Muthambi – a highly-anticipated meeting since President Jacob Zuma (rather inexplicably) split the Department of Communications in two.
While we may still not be entirely sure about the full roles of the new
Department of Communications
(DOC) and the new Department of Telecoms and Postal Services, there are several key points that we can take away from Muthambi’s briefing, based on what was and wasn’t said.
I can assure you that the new minister’s ideas are about as progressive as Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.
Firstly, the new DOC does not want to be seen as a propaganda bureau, as it had been cynically dubbed by some, with Muthambi emphatically stating: “There is no such thing”. This was promptly followed by the new minister kicking the propaganda machinery into high gear by announcing that her department would propagate “good news stories” about government.
Secondly, expect some form of Marxist-Leninist-style clampdown on the media, as Muthambi announced that government plans to foster a good relationship with the media, adding: “We, as government, are readying ourselves to implement an information revolution.”
Yeah, we know all too well about the
’s idea of fostering a “good media” that will have (not necessarily consensual) relations with government.
Thirdly, Muthambi does not seem to be a great fan of technological progress. She announced that the simplification of communication, to the end of reaching the nation, would be one of her biggest challenges as head of the DOC. However, she swept aside the expansion and use of ICT for this purpose, focusing rather on the use of newspapers.
“I will be the happiest person if we can have a situation where every South African is informed about what government is doing. There are people out there doing good, but the story is not being told. There are people in villages with no Internet and we have areas that don’t even have access to radio – we all know we still have this situation.”
Well, I guess newspapers would be the way to go. But don’t you think that if these people had Internet access, they could not only read about the glory of government’s achievements, but also bask in their warmth as they do online shopping via their high-speed, wireless broadband connection? Just saying…
The minister also made some other “announcements” in her address, which vaguely pertained to digital migration and the
and such, but who could really focus after all that exciting revolutionary talk.
Hey comrades, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear what
" rel=tag>Siyabonga Cwele and his Department of Telecoms and Postal Services have in store for us. Now where did I put my vodka…?
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