Gigaba challenges Western media perspectives on Brics

Johannesburg – For developing countries to achieve meaningful development, they must rely on their own resources to achieve their objectives. The Brics Forum and the introduction of the New Development Bank (NDB) are contributing to this independent development, according to Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba was speaking at the launch of the first Brics Journal on Thursday in Rosebank. The publication is set to challenge biases about the five Brics nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - through the exchange of information and education in the political, arts and culture and economic spheres, according to managing editor Vuyo Dlamini.

“The global media is dominated by the interest and perspectives of the West,” explained Gigaba. Emerging markets have an inability to market themselves and inform on existing investment opportunities, beyond Western headlines. Media needs to speak truths to us and to international audiences and those from beyond the Brics environment, he said.

“We need to know about who we are, what we do and what we intend doing.

“We need media platforms which reflect reality, despite the challenges,” said Gigaba. Brics countries often receive no mention unless they “run along” Western standards and norms. When they are mentioned, it is often in light of a Western perspective of politics economics and society, he explained.

Gigaba added that according to Western media, Brazil is perceived as a country ruined by corruption. Russia is perceived as a “war hungry dictatorship”, while China is not trusted and regarded as a “resource hungry” nation out to “colonise and dominate” Africa. “Africa is a war-torn country with power hungry and corrupt leaders,” he said.

The Brics Journal aims to challenge these perspectives, said Mohale Ralebitso, guest editor and chief executive officer of the Black Business Council. “I want children to have perspective of themselves, written from where we are and not from outside, with a lens which is not flattering,” he said. 

Shifting parameters

Since the establishment of the Brics Forum, there has been a shift in geopolitical and economic power, said Gigaba. It is providing tools to drive and shape development. “Brics nations make up 40% of the world’s population, 30% of the land mass and 25% of global GDP,” he explained.

Audio: Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba on how Brics countries can draw investment for development

The Brics summit, since being implemented in Durban in 2013, has replaced the G8 in stature, significance and demeanour, he said.

Developing countries no longer have to maintain the status quo. “They must drive the development of societies and economic advancement and development for citizens,” he said.

The world is still struggling to recover since the global financial crisis in 2008, but this presents an opportunity for emerging economies to industrialise and “open new markets” for products. “There is an enormous market for goods and services, [and opportunity] to create alternative global cultures that challenge the global culture of imperialism,” he said.

The gap of investment in energy, transport and water, holds back economic development in the African continent. “There is not enough funding to respond to the needs of developing countries,” said Gigaba. The NDB is helping to address deficiencies of global development finance, he added.

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